And that’s why we fight for our team.
That game. That experience. Front row. Last row (raises hand). Living room. It didn’t matter tonight. You could feel the energy. More than 16,000 fans, rallying together to support the Kings.
There’s nothing else like it in Sacramento. Nothing even close. And I’ll venture to say there’s nothing else like it in the NBA.
One of the beauties of putting together these #HereWeStay/#HereWeBuy nights is watching the effect it has on the players. The support is always there, has been for decades. But with an arena full of loud, cheering, relentless Kings fans, the players respond.
Isaiah Thomas lives for these games. And Sacramento’s point guard made sure the fans’ initial energy spread across 48 minutes of hoops. Thomas pushed the throttle, attacking the Jazz’s veteran duo of Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson. Neither can slow the speedy floor general on their best days. Add the turbo boost of ARCO Thunder? Good luck. Thomas brought the same energy to the court that the fans brought in the seats.
Then you’ve got Marcus Thornton. He may be slumping, but Kings fans know he’s a sucker for the big stage. The Bayou Bomber came in, knocked down one, knocked down two, and then it was on. To hell with taking it easy. The fans want a show? Thornton was dying to oblige. The Kings marksman shot it anytime he felt he was open, and on this night, that was a great thing.
You’d be remiss on a night showcasing the city of Sacramento not to mention the two longest-tenured Kings, Jason Thompson and Francisco Garcia. These guys have seen a lot in their careers here, mostly down times. So it’s always great to see them shine in front of a large audience of adoring fans. Thompson was an animal down low and provided maybe the memory of the night when he hammered home an alley-oop lob from Thornton. Not impressed by Garcia’s stat line? Look again. Four blocks. How important are blocks when a crowd is just waiting to detonate? MASSIVE.
Save for filling those final 1,000 seats, this night couldn’t have gone any better. A convincing 120-109 victory. The defeaning chants of “SAC-RA-MEN-TO!” and “HERE WE STAY!” could be heard through the TV. The seven-minute wave at the game’s conclusion earned the attention of national media. The NBA will take notice. Does this game ensure the Kings stay? Of course not. But a full arena looks a hell of a lot better than an empty one to David Stern and NBA owners. That, I’m sure of.
This can’t be the last time. That’s all I could think of while losing my voice in the nose bleeds of Sleep Train. These amazing nights. Fans packed into the old warehouse in Natomas. Screaming for our team. Kings fans are truly the best. Sacramento is incredible.