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Sacramento Kings Win Final Home Game At Sleep Train

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

The Sacramento Kings celebrate after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in the final home game at Sleep Train Arena.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

The Sacramento Kings threw a party Saturday night for the building originally known as Arco Arena, but now named Sleep Train Arena.

The team will move to the new Golden 1 Center in downtown this fall. In a season of disappointments, the final memory of the 2015-16 season is a win.

James McMillin was the first in line outside Sleep Train Arena hours before the game.

"I got here on the bus," he says. "I've been a Kings fan since I was little from 1991 on and I'm really excited for this tonight."

Asked if he would miss the building, his response is reluctant.

"Yeah, sort of," he says.

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A little rain didn't deter 200 people from waiting in line for Sacramento Kings Fan Fest to open prior to the last home game played by the Kings at Sleep Train Arena. Brian McDonald / Courtesy

 

More 1,000 people arrived three hours early for the fan fest -- a collection of booths and games. Once inside, many stood in line for about 30 minutes for a chance to win a purple plastic cup.

Priscilla Ruiz has Downs Syndrome. She was in line with her mother Rose Aguilar. Priscilla has a crush on Kings' center, DeMarcus Cousins. She made a sign in the hopes she could meet her favorite player.

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Rose Aguilar and her daughter, Priscilla Ruiz hoped for a Kings win and a visit from Priscilla's favorite player. Brian McDonald / Courtesy

Aguilar asks her daughter why she likes Cousins,"Does he make good shots?"

"He makes a lot of shots," Priscilla says.

"Do you think he's cute?" Aguilar asks.

Priscilla pauses and says, "Yeah."

More than 30 former players attended, including Scot Pollard, one of the fan favorites from the Kings' playoff teams of the early 2000s. He says it took a while to warm up to the idea of celebrating the building.

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Scot Pollard and his wife Dawn on the grounds of Sleep Train Arena. Brian McDonald / Courtesy

"A few months ago when they talked about bringing us out, I was like okay, fine, it's just a building," he says. "But as it's gotten closer it's gotten a lot more special. The memories have coming flooding back and it's a big deal. I'm really happy to be here."

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Former player and coach Reggie Theus takes a selfie while Kenny "The Jet" Smith giggles at the last home game for the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena. Next to them, former coach Jerry Reynolds gives Vinnie Del Negro a hug. Brian McDonald / Courtesy

And then it was time for the pre-game show and time for the fans to celebrate the past, especially one glorious stretch of seasons  from the 1998-99 season through the 2005-06 season when the team was fun to watch and were in the playoffs every year.

The coach during that time was Rick Adelman. He received -by far- the loudest roar of the night when he was introduced to the crowd.

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Rick Adelman received a thunderous ovation at the final home game for the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena. His teams made seven playoff appearances before he was released by owners who later attempted to move the team to Anaheim and Seattle. Brian McDonald / Courtesy

Those seven successful seasons were out of 31 in Sacramento and 28 at Sleep Train Arena -a thought not lost on fans like Barbara York, who hope the future and a new arena downtown may bring a new era of glory.

"I sure hope so," she says. "It would be disappointing if it wasn't."

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Rudy Gay hit two free throws with almost no time remaining to help the Sacramento Kings beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the last Kings' home game ever at Sleep Train Arena. Brian McDonald / Courtesy

This era ended in a win. Sacramento gave up 30 points in the first quarter but rallied to beat Oklahoma City 114-112. Darren Collison hit two late jumpers and Rudy Gay sealed the win with two free throws with a second remaining.