SACRAMENTO — After 28 seasons in the capital city, the Kings franchise may soon be dethroned.
It would be a sad ending for a city that has seen tremendous growth since the team arrived in Sacramento back in the fall of 1985.
Kings fans are among the most loyal in the NBA but playing in one of the oldest and smallest venues in the league, plus the losing record of the team in recent years, attendance has dwindled to a fraction of what it was back in the early 2000′s.
Over the weekend, the Kings played back-to-back games against the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets. With the attraction of Jeremy Lin and All-Star James Harden, the Purple and Gold reigned down on Houston, beating the Rockets, 117-111 on Sunday night.
Four of the five Kings in the starting lineup scored in double figures led by John Salmons and Isaiah Thomas who each had 23 points.
Post-Game Audio: Kings forward John Salmons
Post-Game Audio: Kings guard Isaiah Thomas
In the loss, Harden scored 30 but Lin struggled scoring only 12 points with six assists.
Post-Game Audio: Rockets guard Jeremy Lin
Sacramento is a unique area for basketball. Long considered a “cow town,” the fans took to the slight by bringing cowbells to games and adopting them to root on their Kings.
Although the team is just 19-33 overall, they are 14-12 at the building formerly known as Arco Arena. Built in 1988, the arena is the smallest in the association with a capacity of 17,317.
The teams with winning records they’ve beaten at home include the Golden State Warriors, Jazz, Boston Celtics, and New York Knicks. More impressive is that the Kings swept their home games against the Warriors and Jazz.
Add the Rockets to that list.
The game was entertaining for everyone, close for all four quarters. Down by 10 points, 94-84 with 10:07 remaining, Sacramento goes on a 29-13 run to take a six point lead and would hang on to win by that margin. During that run, Lin fouled out ending a frustrating night for the Palo Alto native.
‘Linsanity’ no longer dominates the headlines. Much of that is Lin proving that he belongs in the NBA. Although its probably more likely that he is in Houston and out of the media spotlight that he dominated when he was a New York Knick last year.
Should the Kings move to the Pacific Northwest following the sale of the club to a group of investors in Seattle, it will be devastating to the capital city which won’t likely ever get another chance at a major professional sports franchise.
For a region that is 90 miles north of Oakland and the greater Bay Area which boasts six pro teams and distinguished college programs in Stanford and Cal, having a team represent your city is an honor.
Even if you’re not a sports fan, it helps the local economy and the businesses such as restaurants, bars, and other establishments.
There are 15 home games in the 2012-13 season. Let’s hope they’re not the final games ever for this storied franchise whose roots date back to Rochester in 1946 when the NBA was established.