By James Archer
It’s finally here. Two days until the start of the season for the Sacramento Kings. For some fans, expectations are high, with hope for a team the caliber of Sacramento in 2001. The current roster certainly shows some talent, such Demarcus Cousins and Ray McCallum. Another addition, Sim Bhullar standing at an astonishing 7-feet-5, is certainly capable of striking fear into the hearts of an opposing team. The Kings have not found much success in the past years; the last time they made the Playoffs was the 2006 season. Certainly Kings fans must be overdue for a Playoff appearance. The team also has the new Kings arena on the horizon, another draw for potential new fans.Their season opener is against the Golden State Warriors at Sleep Train Arena. Loyal fans will be out in force, sporting their purple – the color that symbolizes, appropriately enough, royalty.
The team has been in Sacramento since 1985, but the franchise as a whole has seen many changes. Their first incarnation as the Rochester Royals lasted from 1948 to 1957. The team had the name the Royals until becoming the Kansas City-Omaha Kings in 1972. Sleep Train Arena displays multiple retired jersey, including Oscar Robertson and Nate Archibald. But one jersey is commemorates the Sixth Man, a tribute to the loyal fans.
Some long time fans may remember the controversy of the 2002 Western Conference Finals, featuring the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers. Referees were accused of favoring the Los Angeles Lakers in a pivotal game, causing them to rally back and win the series.
In recent years under Maloof ownership, Sacramento fans nearly lost the beloved Kings to a host of other cities offering to build an arena; Seattle was a main competitor. But with the support of Mayor Kevin Johnson, the team came under new ownership and will remain in Sacramento, supported by a fan base that is more united than ever.