The Sacramento Kings have always been the backbone of the city. Lately, it has been more than usual in the wake of the team possibly relocating to a different city. However, on March 6, city officials voted in favor of the recently proposed arena deal that would ensure that the Kings would remain in Sacramento.
This is a huge success for not only the Kings organization, but the city as a whole. Even state politicians agree that this is a huge deal for the city, and the state.
“So long as the city general funds are protected, I think it’s great,” said state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.
The city has always leaned on the Kings through hard times, and this was no different. The history of Sacramento has mostly been known for the politicians, but for the people who call Sacramento their home, the history includes many good times with the Kings.
“It’s a piece of history for Sacramento, and you can’t really take that away for the fans,” said 18-year-old American River College student Lucas David. “It is said that Sacramento has some of the most dedicated fans in the league, and this has been another sign of that dedication.”
The Kings, the city of Sacramento, and arena operator Anschutz Entertainment Group will fund the new arena. The city will contribute $200-$250 million, mostly by leasing out parking garages around the facility. The Maloofs have agreed to pay $75 million in upfront cash, and paying off the $67 million loan they already had from the city. AEG will add the final estimated $60 million, according to cbsnews.com. This also includes the paying back of loans issued to the Kings from the city.
“I think it’s good for the Maloofs; it’s good to see that they’re finally paying back the money they owed the city before moving forward with the new arena,” said David.
During the NBA All-Star weekend in Orlando, talks continued between the Kings, the NBA, and Sacramento city officials. With all sides in favor of keeping the organization in Sacramento, the only thing that drew out the decision was the ability to finance the new arena.
With the passing of this new arena deal, it all but secures that the Kings will remain the only professional organization in Sacramento. Being the only professional venue, it was imperative for not only our community, but the Kings organization as well. As the only professional team located in the city, there is no competition for ticket sales, or merchandise sales.
The passing of this arena bill will also benefit the city as a whole. In recent news, Sacramento and Lake Tahoe are bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, according to the Sacramento Press. If successful, it would mark the first time something of its stature to be held in the Sacramento area, and the first time the Olympics were held in Lake Tahoe since 1960 at Squaw Valley.
Most fans feared the reality that the Kings could possibly be leaving Sacramento. Even though the players would have been in a different city, it’s apparent that the love for the team would have remained.
“There’s no way I would have traded teams. Once you grow up with one team, you really want to stay by them. I know people who were Seattle Supersonics fans, that are now Oklahoma City Thunder fans because they moved there,” said David.
Small market teams haven’t had the best history of succeeding in the NBA, but it seems that teams are starting to figure out how to do such a thing.
For example, the Thunder have emerged as one of the best teams in the Western Conference, yet the organization is based in a small market city. The Thunder have figured out that the way to succeed is by obtaining quality draft picks, and developing them into All-Stars, as in the case of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
The Kings may have their own young duo in Tyreke Evans and Demarcus Cousins, but only time will tell if maturity will play a factor in the ability to progress to the All-Star caliber level of play. With most of the team not having more than two years experience in the league, it will be a work in progress as these young Kings grow into their own individual roles on the team.
As the Kings begin the second half of the season, all eyes will be on how they respond after the stress over the arena starts to fade. The team is starting to head in the right direction with the young talent they have acquired in recent drafts, but if you look around at the overall records around the league, it would help to have an All-Star caliber veteran.
Through sheer loyalty to the purple and black, the fans of Sacramento made their voice heard. It has been a long and bumpy road since the end of last season and the news of a possible relocation emerged, but it was the voice of the fans that gave the city, the Maloofs, and the NBA a reason for making sure the Kings remained in Sacramento with a new arena.
In front of fans during last weeks win over the Utah Jazz, the teary eyed Maloofs gave their sincere appreciation and thanks for the fans support of the team during the months leading up to the final decision.
“To all the Kings fans, from the bottom of our hearts…thank you,” said the Maloofs to the fans of the Sacramento Kings.
Additional reporting done by Josh Baumbach and Sarah Vorn