Ham's Top 6 moments in Arco Arena history
End of an era
On Saturday night, the Kings host the Oklahoma City Thunder in the final game at Arco/Sleep Train Arena. Next season, Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento will be their new home. Here Insider James Ham's Top 6 moments in the history of the venue.
1. Opening night - Nov. 8, 1988
The Kings laid an egg in the first ever game at Arco Arena II, losing to the Seattle Supersonics by a final of 97-75. But this was a crowning moment for the franchise. After playing the previous three seasons in Arco I, a 10,333 seat arena down the street from the new building, the Sacramento Kings finally had a real NBA building.
2. Lukenbill in the Rafters - March 1, 1989
Arco wasn’t even a year old when it started to leak! A vent on the air conditioning unit got stuck open during a rainstorm and in the middle of a game against the 76ers, water began accumulating on the court. Owner Gregg Lukenbill climbed into the rafters some 80 or 90 feet above the floor to catch the rain with a makeshift tarp...without any safety equipment.
3. Game 3 - April 30, 1996
After missing the playoffs nine straight seasons, the Kings split two games in Seattle and came home for their first playoff game in Arco II history needing two wins to advance. Seattle took Game 3 by a final of 96-89 and finished the Kings off in game four, but this is still considered the loudest the building has ever been. George Karl, then coach of the Sonics, said his ears were still ringing four or five hours later.
4. Game 5 - May 28, 2002
With 8.2 seconds remaining, Mike Bibby pulled up for a 22-footer off a Chris Webber dime and hit the biggest shot in Sacramento-era history. Bibby’s hoop gave the Kings a 92-91 victory and a 3-2 lead over the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. We don’t need to talk about what happened after that.
5. Evans for the Win - Dec. 29, 2010
In his second season in Sacramento, Tyreke Evans took an inbounds pass from rookie DeMarcus Cousins with 1.5 seconds remaining in the game and hit an improbable 50-foot game winner as time expired to give the Kings 100-98 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
6. The Night that Almost was… - April 13, 2011
With the Kings one foot out the door to Anaheim, the 2010-11 season finale became farewell game for fans and the players sent them out in tears. After trailing the Lakers by 20 in the fourth quarter, the Kings made an improbable run to force overtime and give everyone in the building five more minutes of basketball. LA would go on to win the game, but David Stern and the Board of Governors would have the last say when they turned the Maloofs first relocation bid down and kept the Kings in Sacramento just days later.