After 28 years of operation, the Kings will play one last game at storied Sleep Train Arena (formerly ARCO) on Saturday night before their move to the new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento to begin the 2016-17 season later this year.
Though the Kings have not qualified for the NBA postseason in the last 10 years, the era from 1998 to 2006 served as the pinnacle of the building. That was when players including Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, Doug Christie, Bobby Jackson and Jason Williams helped direct Rick Adelman’s high-octane Princeton offense, culminating in a pair of division titles in 2002 and 2003.
While the current era of Kings basketball has yet to experience that type of playoff success, the building remains one of the NBA’s loudest — and the organization took to Twitter to share some the memories before Saturday’s home finale. The celebration includes a “retro court” featuring the team’s original logo and baby blue color scheme, which the Kings used from 1985 until 1994.
Here’s a sampling of the anticipation on social media, including posts from current and former players:
— Jason Thompson (@jtthekid) April 9, 2016
Today is the day… Who’s ready?! pic.twitter.com/5ETSfuBBjR
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) April 9, 2016
— Vinny Del Negro (@VinnyDHoops) April 8, 2016
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) April 8, 2016
A photo posted by Omri Casspi Moshe (@omricasspi18) on
The Kings (31-48) are seven-point underdogs to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Saturday’s finale, but they may have a real shot at pulling the upset. With three games remaining in the season, the Thunder have locked up the third seed in the Western Conference playoff race and have little to play for.
Moreover, after a series of “rest” games, virtually all hands for the Kings are expected to be on deck. That includes star center DeMarcus Cousins, who would undoubtedly love to send Sacramento’s loyal fans home happy with an emotional win in the building’s finale.
Sacramento closes the season with road games at Phoenix and Houston.
Ben DuBose is a veteran sports reporter who has followed the Houston Rockets and the NBA since Hakeem Olajuwon was Akeem Olajuwon. He writes for both SheridanHoops and ClutchFans, an independent Rockets blog. You can follow him on Twitter and listen to his Houston sports podcast.