In April 1957, the Harrison brothers moved the Royals to Cincinnati. This move followed a well-received regular season game played at Cincinnati Gardens on February 1, 1957. The change of venue had been said to have been suggested by Jack Twyman and Dave Piontek, who were two of several roster players on the new Royals from that region. Cincinnati, which had a strong college basketball fan base and no NFL franchise to compete with, was deemed the best choice for the Harrisons. The Royals name continued to fit in Cincinnati, often known as the “Queen City”.
In 1960, the team was able to land local superstar Oscar Robertson. Robertson led a team that included Twyman, Wayne Embry, Bob Boozer, Bucky Bockhorn, Tom Hawkins and Adrian Smith over the next three seasons. The Royals reversed their fortunes with Robertson and rose to title contender. An ownership dispute in early 1963 scuttled the team’s playoff chances when new owner Louis Jacobs booked a circus for Cincinnati Gardens for the week of the playoff series versus the champion Boston Celtics. The Royals home games were at Xavier University’s home Schmidt Field House.
In 1966, the team was sold to Max and Jeremy Jacobs. That same season, the Royals began playing some of their home games in neutral sites such as Cleveland (until the Cavaliers began play in 1970), Dayton and Columbus, Ohio which was the norm for the rest of the Royals tenure in the Queen City.
New coach Bob Cousy traded Lucas in 1969. Robertson was traded to Milwaukee in 1970, where he immediately won an NBA title. The declining franchise left Cincinnati shortly thereafter, moving to Kansas City in 1972.
The Cincinnati Royals was a professional basketball team in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Cincinnati team played in the National Basketball Association from 1957 to 1972. Before moving to Cincinnati, the team originated as the Rochester Royals, and played in Rochester, New York.
The Royals struggled during their early years in Cincinnati, posting losing records during the first four years, despite the presence of NBA all-stars Maurice Stokes, Jack Tywman and Clyde Lovelette. Beginning in the early 1960s, the team experienced more success with the additions to the roster of future hall-of-famers, Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas. From 1961 through the 1965 season, the Royals posted winning records and finished second in their division twice. They posted a 55-25 record and Robertson was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in the 1963 – 1964 season. Although the Royals qualified for the NBA playoffs during the early 1960s, they were never able to win an NBA title in Cincinnati.
Rochester – Cincinnati – Kansas City – Sacramento
1949 – Present / National Basketball Association
1948 – 1949 / Basketball Association of America
1945 – 1948 / National Basketball League
1923 – 1945 / Various Unknown Leagues
1985 – Present / Sacramento Kings
1975 – 1985 / Kansas City Kings
1972 – 1975 / Kansas City-Omaha Kings
1957 – 1972 / Cincinnati Royals
1923 – 1957 / Rochester Royals
Royals – The team then held a rename-the-team contest in Rochester’s largest newspaper. The winner was 15-year-old Richard Paeth for his entry, the “Royals.” This name carried over to Cincinnati.
NBA Championships 0
2016 – Present / Golden 1 Center
2012 – 2016 / Sleep Train Arena
2011 – 2012 / Power Balance Pavilion
1888 – 2010 / ARCO Arena II
1985 – 1988 / ARCO Arena I
1974 – 1985 / Kemper Arena
1972 – 1978 / Omaha Civic Auditorium
1972 – 1974 / Kansas City Municipal Auditorium
1957 – 1972 / Cincinnati Gardens
1955 – 1957 / Rochester War Memorial
1949 – 1954 / Edgerton Park Arena
1923 – 1948 / Unknown Arena
2013 – Present / Vivek Ranadive
1999 – 2013 / George, Joe and Gavin Maloof
1992 – 1999 / Jim Thomas
1985 – 1992 / Gregg Lukenbill and Joe Benvenuti
1959 – 1985 / Thomas Woods
1923 – 1959 / Les and Jack Harrison
Who is the greatest Cincinnati Royals?
1 Nate Archibald
2 Mitch Richmond
4 Chris Webber
6 Sacramento Fans “The Sixth Man”
11 Bob Davies
12 Maurice Stokes
14 Oscar Robertson
16 Peja Stojakovic
21 Vlade Divac
27 Jack Twyman
44 Sam Lacey
1997 – Present / Slamson the Lion
*Blue is this team’s history