Once upon a time, the NBA landscape looked quite different. The Sacramento Kings were flying high and making their mark in sports history while providing thrills to fans all around the world.
With an illustrious past that spans over half a century of thrilling playoff runs, amazing players, unforgettable moments, and much more—the achievements of the Sacramento Kings are worth noting for any avid NBA fan!
Let’s take a closer look at the rich history behind one of basketball's most successful franchises: from its humble beginnings to becoming one of the top teams in professional basketball today. We'll give you an inside view into team ownership, changes throughout its history, and memorable events that shaped the success story we see today—to appreciate what makes this team special truly!
The Sacramento Kings are one of the most storied and celebrated franchises in the NBA. The franchise was founded in 1923 as the Rochester Seagrams. They became known as Rochester Royals and were one of the original teams that made up the National Basketball Association. It would take them almost two decades to find their way to California, however, when they moved to Sacramento in 1985. As soon as they arrived in Northern California, the newly-christened Kings began building a legacy of winning basketball.
History of Ownership
The Sacramento Kings have had a long and storied history of team ownership, having undergone numerous changes throughout the years.
The first owners of the Rochester Royals, which later became the Sacramento Kings, were Les and Jack Harrison. During their tenure as owners, they led the Royals to two NBL championships before the league merged with the Basketball Association of America in 1949 to form what is now known as the NBA.
The team remained under the ownership of the Harrison family until 1959 when they sold it to Thomas Woods. Thomas owned and operated the Kings for 26 years, during which time he was responsible for bringing them to Sacramento and signing NBA legends like Oscar Robertson.
In 1985, Gregg Lukenbill and Joe Benvenuti took over ownership of the team, moving them from Rochester to Sacramento and officially renaming them as the Sacramento Kings. Under their leadership, the Kings experienced much success on the court.
Jim Thomas assumed control of ownership in 1992 and hired highly regarded front office personnel, including Garry St. Jean, as Head Coach. Together they led one of the most successful eras in team history, making three straight trips to postseason play.
In 1999, the Maloof brothers—George, Joe, and Gavin—purchased a majority stake in the team from Jim Thomas. The Maloofs ushered in a new era of Kings basketball with the hiring of Coach Rick Adelman and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. Under their guidance, the Kings went on an incredible run that included nine straight postseason appearances between 1999 and 2013.
In 2013, George Joe Gavin Maloof sold their controlling interest to Vivek Ranadive, who is currently leading an era dedicated to building a championship culture for fans, players, and other stakeholders at large. The organization has since identified a core mission: Win Championships by creating an elite basketball experience through innovation on & off the court while serving Greater Sacramento with pride & passion!
The Sacramento Kings have had an impressive roster of players over the years. In the early days, there were Basketball Hall of Famers like Oscar Robertson, who was one of the team’s first superstars in 1961 and led them to their only NBA Championship; Chris Webber, Mitch Richmond, Jerry Lucas, and Vlade Divac—all members of the original core group that drove the “Run TMC” era from 1998-2001.
In more recent years, DeMarcus Cousins has become a fan favorite with his unique style of play; Rudy Gay and Tyreke Evans helped to keep the Kings competitive during their run from 2010-2013, while current stars such as Harrison Barnes and De'Aaron Fox are helping to create a new era of Kings basketball.
The Sacramento Kings have had a long and sometimes tumultuous history. From their beginnings in Rochester to their current home in California’s capital, the team has experienced highs and lows throughout its journey. Despite this, they remain an important part of the NBA landscape and continue to strive for success on the court each season. Their history is full of legendary players and moments that fans around the world will forever remember.
With a core mission focused on winning championships, it looks like the future will be even brighter for this iconic franchise! The Sacramento Kings are sure to make more memories as they look towards building a dynasty in years to come.
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