Sacramento, after all of its fighting to prevent its NBA team, the Kings, from moving to Seattle, has finally been assured that its team will not be moving this offseason.
Mayor Kevin Johnson entered office with one primary goal. To keep the city’s only major professional sports team in the City of Trees.
Over the decades of the Sacramento Era, since the team moved from Kansas City, players like Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, and Mitch Richmond have taken the court at what is now named Sleep Train Arena.
In addition to the actual players, the Sixth Man in Sacramento has been one of the most loyal and supportive fan bases in the NBA, in a small market that does not offer the same population to draw from as a New York or an Los Angeles.
Any time a city can outsell a so-called “sports city” like Seattle ticket-wise for the same amount of time, the city deserves a team.
Any time a city with an official population of just over 400,000 people can draw a sellout crowd for the better part of two decades, the city deserves a team.
Any time a city that is in one of the worst economic depression in the United States, yet still wants to pay hundreds of million dollars to build a new arena, the city deserves a team.
That being said, Seattle is a great city and does deserve the return of the Supersonics as an NBA franchise. It just should not receive a team at the stake of one of the best fan bases in the nation.
Assuming the official decision of the NBA to keep the Kings where they are is the same as what the owners agreed on a few weeks ago, some changes in the franchise need to be made.
The most glaring problem is a lack of a state of the art arena. Players hate travelling to Sacramento to stay in the airport’s hotel and then drive to play in the dump called Sleep Train in Natomas.
The Sacramento Kings need to play in Sacramento, and a downtown arena – the proposed plan – would solve that problem.
The new arena next to the Downtown Plaza would be extremely beneficial both socially and economically.
It would revive the downtown area that has struggled in recent years. It would bring economic prosperity to the neighboring businesses while making downtown Sacramento a place to go, for both the youth and adults in Sacramento.
The arena relocation will make California’s capital a more attractive tourist spot as well. There will be a place to go that will be more lively and will be renovated to be a more attractive spot for visitors as well as natives of the valley.
If in the next few years the Kings can draft a few more solid players and develop the talent they already have (Cousins, Evans, Thorton), the franchise just might be able to create a dynasty to remember in their new home in the heart of Sacramento, and maybe even return to the glory days of the early 2000s.