By Justin Lester
Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson will tell anyone who’ll listen the city is united in its attempt to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle. But if Saturday night is any indication, the effort is coming up short.
Fans of the franchise staged “Here We Buy” for Saturday’s game against Utah, aimed at getting fans to sell-out the arena and lead the Kings to a win over the Jazz. The latter part of the objective was achieved, as Sacramento took down Utah 120-109. But there were over 1,000 empty seats for the game.
It would have been a grand accomplishment, given that the Kings have drawn the lowest average attendance in the NBA this season.
The fans did make their presence known Saturday. The aging Sleep Train Arena building was louder than it has been all year, Johnson bragged in a tweet Monday.
“Our City, Our Kings,” and “Let Us Match,” were a couple of many chants strung together by the crowd. The 16,193 in attendance even got guard Isaiah Thomas, University Place native and former UW star, and center DeMarcus Cousins to join them in doing the wave during the final moments of the game.
The idea was raised by people who were part of the “Here We Stay” campaign, a movement that discouraged the Maloof family from moving the Kings to Anaheim two years ago.
Fans created a website for the event where tickets went at a discount price of $17.50.
Fans who weren’t able to attend the game could donate money so others could afford buying a ticket, helping draw 600 more.
It was a valiant effort, but it makes you wonder if all the support the city claims it has to keep the Kings in town is really there.