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NBA India Games 2019

NBA India Games 2019: Looking back at the history of the Sacramento Kings franchise

The Kings' logo in the Hindi language.
The Kings' logo in the Hindi language. (Getty Images)

On Dec. 20, history was made when the NBA announced its ever NBA India Games 2019.

The announcement stated that the Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers will face off twice in two days on October 4th and 5th, 2019 for the first-ever NBA preseason games in India.

It's time to get to know each of these teams better, so let's start with the Sacramento Kings.

The Beginning - Rochester Royals

The Kings are among the oldest professional franchises in the league.

They joined the National Basketball League (NBL) as the Rochester Royals in 1945 but after three years, they moved on to the Basketball Association of America (BAA) under the same name.

In their time as the Rochester Royals from 1948-57, they won their only championship in franchise history by defeating the New York Knicks 4-3 in the 1951 NBA Finals.

Unfortunately, citing financial reasons, the team moved to Rochester in 1957.

The Oscar Robertson era in Cincinnati

During their 15 years in Cincinnati as the Royals, a decade of it was dominated by Oscar Robertson.

Oscar, or the 'Big O', was named an All-Star and a member of the All-NBA team in each season with the team. He was also named the 1964 regular season MVP and led the league assists in five of his first six seasons. Before Russell Westbrook did it twice in 2017 and 2018, Robertson was the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double through a season in 1962 - 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists.

Unfortunately, for five straight years with Robertson, the team was eliminated either in the Division Finals or in the Division semis. Finally, at the end of the 1969-70 season, Big O was traded to Milwaukee where he won an NBA Championship in his first season with the team.

Robertson has his #14 jersey retired by the Kings.

With the team struggling on the floor following the departure of its franchise player and even in the last few years with Robertson, the franchise relocated yet again in 1972, this time to Kansas City, where the franchise also changed its name from the Royals to the Kings to avoid any confusion with the city's baseball franchise.

Kansas City Kings

From 1972 to 1975, the team played its home games in both Kansas City and Omaha. During that tenure, they were known as the Kansas City-Omaha Kings.

Other than a Conference Finals appearance in 1981, the Kings didn't make a lot of consistent Playoff noise.

Nate Archibald, drafted by the team in 1970, did bring some flair to the team. He led the league in scoring and assists per game in the 1972-73 season. In his time with the franchise, he was named to three All-Star teams and received four All-NBA selections.

With losing records in three of the four seasons after the Conference Finals appearance in 1981, the franchise moved once again, this time to Sacramento in 1985.

Sacramento Kings

Prior to the 2018-19 season, in 33 campaigns, the Kings have posted winning records in only eight seasons since their move to Sacramento.

Those eight seasons came from 1998 to 2006, arguably the franchise's most successful stretch of basketball. Not only did the team make it to the Playoffs all eight years but three of these eight appearances ended in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Their best season in this span in 2002 ended at the hands of the eventual champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, in a grueling and super-competitive seven-game series in the Conference Finals.

The team's incredible play from 1998 to 2004, coinciding with the team acquiring Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, and drafting Peja Stojakovic, was dubbed the "Greatest Show on Court".

Between 1998 and 2004, the franchise had a combined nine All-Star selections between Chris Webber (4), Peja Stojakovic (3), Vlade Divac (1), and Brad Miller (1). Their General Manager Geoff Petrie won the Executive Player of the Year Award twice (1999, 2001). Four of these six seasons, the Kings recorded 50+ wins in the regular season including the 2001-02 season where they finished the best record in the league with 61 wins.

Unfortunately, the team has neither posted a winning record or made it to the postseason since 2006 (current longest Playoff drought in the NBA).

Current co-owner and franchise chairman Vivek Ranadivé bought the franchise as part of a group in 2013, after he had sold his stake in the Golden State Warriors. He was a co-owner and vice chairman of the Warriors' franchise since 2010 until the purchase of his stake in the Kings.

Things are looking brighter this year, behind the team's energetic guard combo of De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. At the time of writing, the team has a record of 22-21 (the first time the franchise has a winning record after 43 games since the 2004-05 season).

In April of 2015, the Kings signed Sim Bhullar to a 10-day contract. Bhullar, a 7"5' center of Indian descent, made history when he became the first player of Indian descent to check into an NBA game. He went on to score the first basket of his NBA career as well:

Stayed tuned to NBA.com as we take a deeper look at the Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers in our build-up to the NBA India Games 2019.

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