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Founded in 1923 as the semi-pro Rochester Seagrams, the team known now as the Sacramento Kings is the oldest continuously operating basketball franchise in the NBA. The team saw early success after joining the league and won the NBA Championship over the New York Knicks in 1951. However, it’s been a rocky road ever since for the Kings, and they’ve struggled to regain their place at the top of the conference. They’ve appeared in the NBA Playoffs less than half of the years that they’ve been with the league and have never again made it all the way to the NBA Finals. They saw renewed success in the late ‘90s to the mid-2000s with the addition of players like Jason Williams, Vlade Divac, Chris Webber, and Peja Stojaković. Despite a recent period of decline, Sacramento fans love their team and rush to get tickets to see them battle it out on the hardwood.
Originating in Rochester, New York in 1923, the Sacramento Kings have gone through many relocations and rebrandings. Over the course of nearly 100 years, they’ve been known as the Rochester Seagrams, the Rochester Eber Seagrams, the Rochester Pros, the Rochester Royals, the Cincinnati Royals, the Kansas City-Omaha Kings, and the Kansas City Kings before eventually landing in Sacramento, where they’ve been since 1985. They joined the NBA in 1948 and immediately went on to appear in 7 straight playoffs, taking the ultimate victory in 1951. They were hit with a few years of struggles and then, in 1960, signed a rookie by the name of Oscar Robertson, who would later go on to be considered one of the best players in NBA history. He helped lead the team to 6 straight playoff appearances beginning in 1962, though they never made it past the Conference Finals.
The team fell into another period of decline over the next 3 decades, with only 7 return trips to the playoffs between 1968 and 1998. But all that began to change when the team stacked their 1998–99 roster with Williams, Divac, Webber, and Stojaković. Along with the addition of Doug Christie in 2000, the powerhouse group led the team to earn their first winning season in 15 years, and the era was later nicknamed “The Greatest Show on Court.” They returned to the playoffs for 8 consecutive seasons through 2006 and even faced off against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Conference Finals in 2002. Though the Lakers eventually won in a 7-game series, many fans and sports analysts have questioned a range of calls that have led them to believe the games could have possibly been rigged and wonder whether the Kings could have ultimately brought home the title. After winning the Pacific Division that same year, they took the division title again in 2003. They sought to avenge their playoff loss to the Lakers but lost in the Conference Semifinals to the Dirk Nowitzki-led Dallas Mavericks.
After losing all of their big name players by the mid 2000s, the Kings were hit with yet more hardship. Despite signing Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans—the first Sacramento player to ever be named RoY—and future All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings haven’t been able to earn a winning season or return trip to playoffs since 2006. Today, under Head Coach Dave Joerger, the Kings continue to struggle but are attempting to build out a roster around players such as Iman Shumpert, De’Aaron Fox, Vince Carter, and Bogdan Bogdanović. Grab tickets to cheer on the team as they fight to regain their place in the conference against rivals like the LA Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Golden State Warriors.Back to top