The Sacramento community always likes to roll out the red carpet for an incoming guest, especially one as important to the future of the Kings. With new NBA commissioner Adam Silver in attendance, the Sacramento Kings squeaked by the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night behind cheers of a sold-out Sleep Train Arena crowd. This was Silver’s first game since he officially took office on Saturday and once again, Kings fans rose to the occasion.
Dubbed #ForeverSilver night in honor of the new commissioner, our friends at Here We Stay got busy trying to raise money to send underprivileged children to the game.
“They continue to amaze us,” said Phil Horn, Kings vice president of ticket sales. “Obviously, there was great reason for them to do it last year, and campaign for sellouts. I think at the last game they did it, there were over a thousand kids. So when they came to us this season and said they’d like to do it again, I thought ‘Great, let’s give it a run.’”
Wednesday night’s crowd took a little while to assemble. But for the ninth occassion this season, a maximum capacity crowd of 17,317 was in attendance, this time for a mid-week game against a team from the Eastern Conference. Sacramento currently ranks 13th in the league in attendance despite an 11-16 record at Sleep Train Arena.
This isn’t the first time Here We Stay orchestrated a ticket drive to send underprivileged youth to a Kings game. But it is the first time they have jumped on board since the NBA announced the team would stay in Sacramento after multiple relocation attempts over the last few years.
“The generosity of the Sacramento Kings fans never cease to amaze us,” Here We Stay’s Kevin Fippin said. “We’re very proud of the way this community and the team responded.”
Not only did the Kings respond on the floor with a 109-101 victory, but they jumped on board with the ticket drive as well. The fan group was able to get 275 tickets donated from around the world and the Kings matched that number, bringing the grand total of free tickets to 550.
“Anytime you have a fan group like that, that’s so passionate about filling the building every night and of course, sending underprivileged children to the game, it’s something we’re going to support,” Horn said.
The tickets were distributed to local Sacramento area charities and youth programs, allowing underprivileged children and their families to attend the win over Toronto.
“Probably once upon a time it did,” Horn said when asked if he was shocked by the outpouring of support from the fanbase. ”But not any more. This is a pretty resilient community, a resilient fanbase. I think it reflects our team and our city and I’m beyond being surprised anymore.”
WATCH: Adam Silver tours Downtown Plaza
Following last night’s game, the new commissioner visited and took a tour of the Downtown Plaza, the site of the proposed new arena. Watch video of his visit down below.
State of the City
It’s been almost one year since Kevin Johnson unveiled his bold plan to keep the Kings in Sacramento. That one-year anniversary comes when the mayor hold his annual State of the City address at the Memorial Auditorium next week. The event, which tips off at 6 pm, is free to the public by reserving tickets at SacSOTC.com.