Kings: How Harry Giles Became A Fan Favorite

Sacramento Kings Harry Giles (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings Harry Giles (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Harry Giles has said and done all of the right things to quickly become a fan favorite in Sacramento.

The amount of “fan favorites” that the Sacramento Kings have had over the last decade can probably be counted on one hand. Isaiah Thomas was “The Pizza Guy”. Jack Cooley still interacts with Kings fans on social media. The crowd always loved Omri Casspi.

There are multiple fan favorites on the current Kings roster. De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield are the most popular players on the court, and Marvin Bagley could be joining them in that regard after this season. The legend of Bogdan Bogdanovic has grown this summer and you might see a lot more number 8 jerseys at Golden 1 Center soon.

But the player that seems to be winning over a great majority of the fanbase is third-year big man Harry Giles.

Giles arrived in Sacramento as a project, a highly-skilled player with a long history of potentially career-changing injuries. After spending the entirety of his rookie season rehabilitating, Giles made his NBA debut last season, appearing in 58 games and averaging 7 points and 3.8 rebounds in 14 minutes of play per game.

His numbers were nothing extraordinary, and it has been his fan interaction and devotion to the city of Sacramento that has Kings faithful loving Giles.

Love For Sacramento

The Kings are in a tough spot when it comes to the market they play in. Not only does California’s capital get a bad rap nationally and has distasteful nicknames like “Cow Town”, but it is just a short drive from Warrior Country in the Bay Area and a short flight from Laker Land in Los Angeles.

We hear stories about Sacramento being called “Basketball Hell”, and we remember when Chris Webber said that he cried when he flew in and saw nothing but farmland for miles.

Harry Giles has taken the opposite approach. He has completely embraced the city and the people in it, showing love to Sacramento with nearly every chance he gets. He has called Kings fans the “best fans in professional sports”, and has used the #SacramentoProud hashtag more than a few times.

Fan Interaction

From the day that he arrived Sacramento, Giles has been interacting and conversing with fans via his social media accounts. On Twitter, he responds with thank you’s to fans’ approval and appreciation. He regularly connects with a couple of random users who message/mention him often. On Instagram, Giles will re-post stories from his fans that mention him in their stories.

He is refreshingly humble, a potential star who keeps a close connection with his fans and his city. So close, in fact, that he even helped a local writer garner social media recognition in order to gain approval to wear a Giles jersey to his wedding ceremony.

Richard Ivanowski of Sactown Royalty needed 10,000 retweets for his wife to sign off on him rocking a number 20 Sacramento jersey during the vow exchange. The post found its way to Giles, who retweeted it and helped Ivanowski reach his goal.

Ivanowski wore the jersey in what looked to be a beautiful ceremony on a Mexico beach. A picture of him and his wife was posted by Giles himself with an endearing message to match:

Infectious Smile and “Thunder Clap”

Not only are Giles’ attitude and demeanor contagious, but his smile can light up a room as well. He shows his grin often, which gives off a strong vibe of youthful enthusiasm that tends to be contagious.

While Giles has had his skill set compared to Chris Webber’s, his celebrations mirror the Kings legend as well. His waves his long, lanky limbs and claps his monstrous hands together, a potentially-signature move that was nicknamed “Thunder Clap” in this Kings promotional video from last season:

Final Thoughts

Harry Giles has said all the right things. His enthusiasm for being in the city of Sacramento has already won over fans in just a couple of years, despite having played in just 58 games. His workload on the court will likely increase this year, which will give fans a bigger taste of Giles rather than just the appetizer we got last season.

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Training camp begins next week, and will be the first step for Giles in a possible breakout year. He will need to earn his minutes in a crowded frontcourt, and he could become a leader of the second unit coming off the bench.

If Giles can reach or even come near his potential on the court, he has the ability to become one of the most endeared Sacramento Kings players of all time.