The capital of California has never really gotten as much love as some of the other cities in this beautiful state. You've got Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Fresno, and you could even say the Silicon Valley with all of it's recent success. Sacramento too often gets forgotten about when people think about what California has to offer. It is a beautiful city, with a loyal basketball fan base and a shiny new state-of-the-art stadium. Their fans may be a little bit too loyal considering what the franchise has given them during their time in Sacramento, but as a 76ers fan, I respect y'all dedication.
I wrote about the Kings a while back. It was mostly about how sad the franchise had become, and how I had hoped that they were going to save their fans from a lifetime of terrible basketball by moving to Seattle. But instead, they got Golden1 Center, the premiere basketball experience in all of the NBA. So although the front office has still yet to find a way to give their fans a playoff caliber basketball team, they have given them a place to call their own for many years to come.
Now I remember going to Arco Arena, or as you younger people may know it as Sleep Train Arena, or even Power Balance Pavilion (that didn't last long). Arco was definitely unique, it was true to the teams history because it had been their home for so long. But it became outdated, and they were at a point where they were either getting a new stadium or a new city to play in. Somehow, basketball legend and former Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson convinced the city and state to assist in public funding for Golden1 Center. At the time, I couldn't believe it. I was really sitting there thinking How could they approve a brand new stadium for a terrible NBA franchise that couldn't sell cheap seats in their old stadium?
Yet, here they are, new stadium, new jerseys, no new fans. We are nearly 20 years removed from the best Kings basketball ever witnessed, and the team still has no direction. Sure they have some good young talent, but what will they do with it? Will they mismanage them the way they did with Isaiah Thomas? Will they ship their future away like they did with Demarcus Cousins? Will they continue to rebuild new cultures every year with new coaches?
One question that doesn't have to be answered, is if they have one of the best fan experiences in the NBA. This place is unbelievable. The first time I went this season, I was in a suite. The food spread was immense, the view was incredible, and the customer service was the best I had ever received at any sporting event. My wife made a joke saying that she would've eaten food off of the floor because it was so clean, but it wasn't even really a joke. With Panasonic 4K televisions throughout the entire stadium and in every suite, there was no way you weren't going to be fully entertained.
The next two times I went were in the upper level near center court. It was right after the All-Star break and really I was just curious to see how much tickets were. It was bad, like really bad. Tickets were starting at $6 YES I SAID $6 to watch professional basketball. The tickets were basically being given away, and the place still wasn't sold out, not even close honestly. Usually when you go to a sporting event, most people wear jerseys. This was not the case. I went with my mom and I literally said "I feel bad for Kings fans. They literally have no jersey they can buy. Mayyyybe De'Aaron Fox..? But even then, would you trust the franchise enough to keep him?"
But back to the stadium. Man, it really makes up for the bad basketball. There are so many different food options, and as their website states, all the food that they serve comes from within a 60 mile radius of the stadium. Locally sourced food is the future, especially if you've been reading my #FOODFridays you'll understand. I didn't have one bad food item anytime I went, it was all fire. And the scoreboards and big screens? Let's just say it is very hard to keep your eyes on the court because of how crystal clear the picture is. It makes every seat in the house a good seat. After every basket, the announcer was engaged with the crowd and the game and the DJ played the slaps non-stop.
Now even with all of this, the game itself is still the biggest attraction. And the Kings actually won the first two games I went to. The first one was early on in the season when they were still running their best lineups against a good Blazers team, and we got to see The Backpack Kid, like the real Backpack Kid do his flossin' dance on the court. The second win was against the Nets, so it was bad vs. bad which actually made for very interesting basketball, Fox hit a buzzer beater to send it to OT which was sick. But man that last time was a joke. They didn't play all of their players, they had no passion, the tank job was obviously on schedule with the Pelicans in town. I'm still very pissed that I went to three Kings games and I didn't even see Vince Carter touch the floor.
Anyway, I highly recommend you guys to go to the stadium even if it is just for the food and the experience. you don't have to like basketball to have a good time. The fans that actually do show up are there to have a good time and enjoy some Kings basketball, even if it is terrible. If you guys do decide to go, hit me up! I'm not worried about spending $6 to watch some NBA.
But hey, at least they once got Lil Jon to introduce the team...
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.