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Sacramento Kings

Animation is the latest innovation for Vivek Ranadivé and the Sacramento Kings

Studio Showoff is the production company behind the first fully-animated player intro video
Studio Showoff is the production company behind the first fully-animated player intro video

At the core of Vivek Ranadivé lives an insatiable appetite for innovation.

Since becoming the first Indian majority owner of an NBA team when he purchased the Kings in 2013, Ranadivé has never shied away from pushing the boundaries with how to run his team.

It's a mentality that extends on and off the court, extending from roster construction to the fan experience at games.

Case in point?

Earlier this season the Kings introduced the first-ever fully animated player introduction video. Wanting to do something different, the Kings enlisted the help of a production company based out of Australia.

Check it out!

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Sure Not Now

This wasn't just your normal production company, either. The video was created by Studio Showoff and directed by Ivan Dixon. Dixon has taken on a number of notable animations such as a music video for rapper Childish Gambino and opening credits for several major television shows.

Dixon's team had just over a month from start to finish to get the everything from storyboarding to final revisions done. Dixon worked with the Kings' marketing team and designed the piece to have an "anime inspired feel" with an intention to pay homage to former Marvel comic book legend, Jack Kirby. You can check out more of their work on Instagram.

Beyond animated player introductions, Ranadivé's franchise celebrates a diverse range of cultures including a planned Bollywood night for the game on January 6 against the Golden State Warriors which can be seen live at 8:30 AM on Ten 1 and Sony ESPN . In addition to the Bollywood celebration, the Kings also have dates dedicated to the Lunar New Year, Latino Heritage Night and Equality Night.

Of course, Ranadivé's Kings - along with the Indiana Pacers - are bringing the NBA to India for the first time next fall for two preseason games to be held in Mumbai. It's a significant opportunity not only for India and the NBA as a whole, but the Kings specifically who have the chance to increase their reach and expand their fan base like never before.

MORE: The cultural impact of the NBA coming to India

Incorporating the fans into the organization is key and Ranadivé has made significant efforts to keep the substance and history of the franchise intact.

When the Kings were a title contender in the early 2000s, they were led by Chris Webber, Jason Williams, Vlade Divac, and an arena full of passioniate fans that was known around the league as one of the loudest and most racous places to play for visitors.

To perhaps help channel part of that magic, Ranadivé brought in Divac to the front office towards the end of the 2014-15 season to help stabilize the roster. Divac's most notable move came during the 2017 trade deadline when he organized a package deal for DeMarcus Cousins. One of the assets Sacramento received in return was Hield, long admired by Ranadivé who likened the sweet shooting guard to perhaps the next Stephen Curry. Even if he doesn't reach that lofty standard, Hield has blossomed in Sacramento and is paying off big time as the leading scorer on a team very much in the thick of the playoff race in the Western Conference.

The fans are ready for another taste of the postseason as the Kings haven't made it since all the way back in 2006. Those 12 long seasons without a playoff appearance is tied for the third-longest streak of its kind in NBA history. During that drought, there hasn't been as much hope as now with Hield, De'Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein, Marvin Bagley III and Bogdan Bogdanovic looking like a formidable young core with depth that's lacked over the last decade.

If the Kings, Warriors, Clippers, and Lakers all do make the playoffs, it would be the first time in NBA history all four teams from California qualified. It would also guarantee at least a couple extra games of cowbells echoing through the crowds.

Only time will tell if the Kings are ready to compete on the next level and if the on-court magic can catch up with the off-court innovation. But with the right pieces in place and a commitment to pushing the boundaries, Sacramento's success could be ringing around for quite some time.

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