Kings fans tender goodbye to beloved, loud Sleep Train Arena

55
Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 11:01 AM

m. on Saturday, a solid four hours before the Sacramento Kings were scheduled to tip off against the OK City Thunder. She’d been coming to the elderly arena in N Natomas since the day it opened and hadn’t missed a single game the latest two seasons.“It’s bittersweet,” she said, standing at the front of a long line of fans waiting to obtain in.

Kings fans tender goodbye to beloved, loud Sleep Train Arena

June Hudspeth arrived at Sleep Train Arena at 3:20 p. m. on Saturday, a solid four hours before the Sacramento Kings were scheduled to tip off against the OK City Thunder. She’d been coming to the elderly arena in N Natomas since the day it opened and hadn’t missed a single game the latest two seasons.

“It’s bittersweet,” she said, standing at the front of a long line of fans waiting to obtain in. “We’ve got a lot of grand memories in this building.”

The funky, crowded, loud tiny arena hosted its final National Basketball Organization game Saturday night after twenty-eight seasons. A few other events, including a Selena Gomez concert and the Sacramento State graduation in May, are scheduled and other events may be added.

But the arena, which has held multiple names over the years, will always be best known as the residence of the Kings.

Hundreds of fans were exterior the arena three hours before the game started, banging cowbells and sharing stories. Inside, a lineup of former players and coaches walked the concourse. Some mingled exterior in a light drizzle, posing for photographs with fans and signing autographs.

More than forty veteran players with the Kings and Monarchs, Sacramento’s former Women’s National Basketball Organization team, were scheduled to attend the game. Some of them – including Otis Thorpe, Kenny Smith, Rodney McCray, and former player and coach Reggie Theus – took to the Ct for pregame festivities.

Current and former Kings owners were also on hand, and principal owner Vivek Ranadive led a pregame ceremony. Members of the Maloof family – who owned the team for fifteen years but attempted to sell the franchise to a grouping from Seattle – were not there.

Former player Scot Pollard said at first, he didn’t consider the latest game to be that large of a deal.

“It’s not love it’s the finish of an era; it’s just the finish of a building,” he said.

But as the evening approached, it started to hit him.

“It’s starting to tear at a lot of heartstrings,” he said. “I’m nervous I might shed a tear.”

When Arco Arena was built, there wasn’t much else in N Natomas. The neighborhood grew around the arena, replacing fields where goats grazed. Theus recalled carrying a hunting rifle in his car and stopping on the way to practice hunting pheasants.

The building opened in one thousand nine hundred eighty-eighth as Arco Arena II, replacing a prior venue in N Natomas that’s presently a state office building. It cost a relatively modest $40 million to build. The arena held that title until two thousand eleven, when it took on the moniker Power Balance Pavilion for a season. It’s been Sleep Train Arena the past four years.

The Kings and city of Sacramento have tried to replace Sleep Train Arena many times over the years. But it wasn’t until two thousand thirteen, when the Kings nearly moved to Seattle, that the effort finally took hold. Golden one Center, at the site of the former Downtown Plaza shopping mall, is scheduled to be finished this fall and is expected to cost around $519 million by the time it’s finished.

Hudspeth said she’ll be there. She’s been a season ticket holder since one thousand nine hundred eighty-five and she’s already bought her seats in the new arena. She and a lot of other fans have one request for the new place: Hold it loud.

“We’ve had our ups and downs here, but the atmosphere was always great,” said Cathy Hopper, waiting in line with her twin sister, Pam.

Through all the coaches, owners and players, the one thing that remained fixed at the arena was the fans, said longtime season ticket holder Duane Hicks. He was standing in line behind Hudspeth, waiting to climb to his upper bowl seats one latest time. His season tickets at Golden one Middle are in the lower bowl.

“We brought the noise with us here, so I hope the new space is loud,” he said. “It’s time to move up.”

READ ALSO
Kyle Busch wins at TX to complete another NASCAR sweep

Kyle Busch wins at TX to complete another NASCAR sweep

Busch took the lead after the final restart Saturday night, completing his second NASCAR weekend sweep in a row and becoming the first driver to do that since Harry Gant in 1991."It'south beautiful darn good, I'll tell you that," Busch said when asked what it'south...

64
Pavelski scores on power play, Sharks beat Coyotes 1-0

Pavelski scores on power play, Sharks beat Coyotes 1-0

Pavelski scored on a power play 7:29 into the third period and Martin Jones made twenty saves to lift the Sharks to a 1-0 triumph over the AZ Coyotes in the regular season finale for both teams on Saturday night."A lot of guys played well and we'd some grand additions...

84
Rudy Homosexual’s free throws give Kings win in final game at Sleep Train Arena

Rudy Homosexual’s free throws give Kings win in final game at Sleep Train Arena

Not that he was celebrating being the reply to that trivia question in the future. Homosexual was more relieved that the Kings had managed to edge the OK City Thunder, 114-112, in the residence finale that was a celebration of the past before the team moves to Golden...

94
Marcos Breton: It’s time Gregg Lukenbill got his full due

Marcos Breton: It’s time Gregg Lukenbill got his full due

Nobody is really mourning the occasion, minimum of all the man who built the place – onetime Kings owner Gregg Lukenbill. Lukenbill, sixty-one, was at the arena previously known as Arco on Saturday to get a bow for bringing big-time sports to Sacramento.

70