SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Few words can bring the sacrament sports community together more than these three:

“Turn on the beam!”

The Sacramento Kings have acceded to this request multiple times this season, igniting their victory beam and moving into the top three in the league standings. nbaWestern Conference .

For those unfamiliar, Sacramento fires lasers into the sky from the top of the Golden 1 Center after every win, “higher than the naked eye can see,” according to Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé. It was even briefly listed as a “place of worship” on Google Maps by the most devoted fans.

The victory beam came true after a brainstorming session with Ranadivé and Kings president of business operations John Rinehart. Originally, Rinehart was inspired by another professional sports club in California. The Los Angeles Angels have the Big A Sign, a 230-foot metal structure in the shape of the letter A, in their parking lot with a halo that lights up after every win.

Ranadivé then had a chat with his friend David Kelley, founder of the design and consulting firm IDEO, before the Golden 1 Center was built. Kelley planted a seed in Ranadivé’s head that would later become the lightning bolt. He advised Ranadivé to identify what his “purple lights” would be in reference to Kelley’s unique experiences on Virgin Atlantic flights, which have purple LED lights on all of his planes. As imaginative as Ranadivé is, he may not have envisioned the way the Sacramento community would embrace the beam.

“The Golden 1 Center is about 100 feet away from us, so as soon as they win, we’ll have customers go upstairs to get a picture of the beam itself,” said Dannie White, Flatstick Pub’s assistant general manager. in downtown Sacramento. the athletic. “I think it’s just Sacramento pride and sports pride.”

It’s not just the fans or the community that are excited about lightning. The team itself has also fully accepted it. Several Sacramento players have taken to social media after the wins to express their excitement for the beam.

Kings fans have had a lot to celebrate this season. De’Aaron Fox he has been one of the league leaders in decisive points and has become one of the most talented young guards in the NBA. Domantas Sabonis he seems to flirt with a triple-double every game, averaging 18.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists. kevin hüter is on his way to setting career highs in scoring and 3-point shooting, and Mike Brown is about to lead the team to its first postseason berth in 17 years.

For some, the energy that surrounds victories: Imagine 17,000 fans at the Golden 1 Center chanting “Light the Lightning!” — took some getting used to.

“I thought it was a little crazy to start the chant with two minutes and thirty seconds left,” Kings rookie keegan murray said after their 110-101 win over Bulls last month. “But everything was fine.”


Kings’ Kevin Huerter presses the button to turn on the lightning after a game against the Denver Nuggets at the Golden 1 Center. (Sergio Estrada/USA Today)

The chant can often be heard during Kings games, but is loudest when the team is within striking distance of a win. These songs have even traveled all over California. They were recently heard at Crypto.com Arena, home of Lebron James and the los angeles lakers.

“We’ve heard (the chant) several times in the arenas, and every time I hear it, I get a little nervous because they start singing it with a lot of time on the clock,” Brown said. “But it’s fun to see the Sacramento Kings jerseys on the road. We have the best fans in the league. … We not only feel it in the arena, we also feel it in the city.

“To be able to have groups of people in your opponent’s arena showing the love that they showed, you feel good about yourself, but you also feel good about them. … We hope they will continue to travel with us.”

Back in downtown Sacramento, the ripple effect of the victory ray spreads. Impound Comics, located 400 feet from the Golden 1 Center, has created “Light the Beam” Shirts that Kings fans are buying.

“It’s become a thing where we’re usually more sold than in-stock, so we’re always ordering new ones,” said Brent Sands, owner of Impound Comics. the athletic. “There are people coming in now who may not have been in before. They see the ‘Light the Beam’ T-shirts through the window, and they’ll come in and we’ll explain what we really are.”

Every time the Kings build on their success and turn on the lightning, local businesses have new opportunities to connect with new customers and the community at large.

“The lightning bolt from the Kings’ victory has been a catalyst in bringing this community together,” said Derek Gallanosa, head brewer at Moksa Brewing Company in Rocklin, California, about 25 minutes from downtown Sacramento. the athletic. “With the prospect of the first playoff appearance in (17) years, this dedicated fan base is getting soaked in all things Kings.”

The last time Sacramento won 25 games in mid-January was 2004-05. That team finished 50-32, second in the Pacific Division and sixth in the Western Conference before losing in the first round of the playoffs to the third-seeded Seattle SuperSonics.

For a city without any NBA postseason action in nearly two decades, Sacramento feels a sense of optimism that once felt impossible to recapture. The shock of winning, and the reward of victory lightning, cannot be overstated.

(Top image: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

By sbavh

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