The Golden 1 Center; An Opportunity Fit For Kings.


When I was 12 years old my mother surprised me with tickets to go see the Los Angeles Lakers play against the Sacramento Kings at ARCO Arena.  I still have the ticket stub, it was December 16th, 2004, and I was thrilled.

More from Kings News

In my heart, I am a proud Laker fan.  I’ve been blessed with being able to watch Kobe Bryant lead my team to 5 NBA Championships over the 15 plus years of consciously being able to pay attention to, and fall in love with the game of basketball.  The NBA is a league of youth, and well into its generational change of power.

Just as Magic passed the torch to Jordan, and (arguably) Kobe to LeBron, us fans realize what once began as entertainment and joy turns to analysis and diehard loyalty.  I am 22 years old, and though the Lakers have my heart, Sacramento will always be my home.

Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena, The Arena That Will House The King’s Final Season. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe scored 32 that night and the Lakers won by 16, but more importantly, I had just enjoyed my first experience at ARCO Arena.  While flipping through my timeline on Twitter this week, dozens of new photos of the Golden 1 center have been popping up from numerous sources.

There is no denying the awe of which the building attracts. In comparison to ARCO, or rather, “Sleep Train” Arena, it is the sexy sister of the bride you married 27 years ago.  Sacramento natives are proud of their history with the arena, but no longer lust for its offerings.

A casual amount of comfort has gradually set in between the relationship of the arena and it’s native attendees.  The mutual spark has been lost, and it is time for the team, and its fans, to move on to something new.

As life ignites excitement in new offerings, reflection often results in appreciation of what was, giving hope to what will be.  In recent seasons the play of the Kings has been less than inspiring, but through controversy and flashes of exciting young talent, the community and fan base has joined forces to bring back some of the lost thrill.

The move to Seattle was put to rest, and the Maloof’s are gone.  With the new arena on the horizon, the future of the Kings and the economical impact of the Downtown arena is wide open.

The Golden 1 center is the crowning achievement to the area that hosts our home court royalty.  Plenty of moments were will forever be remembered in the Sleep Train Arena; the Webber screen for the Bibby three to win in 2002, the Ginobili turnover for the KMart playoff game winner in 2006, and the emotional Grant Napear-Jerry Reynolds almost goodbye in 2011.

Sacramento has shown that it is a basketball town, and the new arena is as much a gift to the fans as it is a statement to the league.  The Sacramento Kings are here to stay.  Owners, partners, and investors believe in the relationship between the fans and the team, and the players on the court have accepted the opportunity to close out what was and bring in what will be in grand fashion.

Instead of “Here We Stay” chants, this is the season for “Here We Are”.  Predictions run rampant throughout the league regarding the result of the cluster of moves that have brought together this season’s roster.  How the Kings will fare is unclear, some are predicting playoffs and others are predicting last.

What is certain, is that this team has a unique opportunity to create a wild shift in power within the ever changing NBA.  More importantly, they have the chance to create an identity for the city of Sacramento.

The opening of the Golden 1 Center next year gives new life to a team that holds an under .500 record in its previous 28 seasons at the current building. An attitude change has become effective in the myriad of changes throughout The Kings roster & staff.  It is now  time for a shift in culture to complete the transition of the franchise into the perennial success the city predicts and has invested in.

The Kings open up their preseason tomorrow, October 5th against the Portland Trail Blazers.  This will be the final season played in the historical arena that has long been a staple of the Sacramento community.  With success, this years Kings can close the door on the past and come into the new arena next year, completing the big picture idea started years ago when Mayor Kevin Johnson fought to keep the team here.

Transition does not have to be a stagnant move, the opportunity to set the tone, change the culture, and create an identity is here.  It is a royal opportunity, and there is no better time for the Kings to rise to the occasion.

More from A Royal Pain

Next: How Much Playing Time Will Seth Curry See?