For a long time, the Sacramento Kings have been the laughing stock of the NBA. The Kings own the longest active playoff drought in the league, having missed the postseason every year since 2006. Since moving to Sacramento from Kansas City in 1986, the Kings have never even made it to the NBA Finals, let alone won a championship. This season is different. The Kings have a 10-7 record and are coming off a seven-game winning streak, their longest since 2004.
As the Kings look primed to snap their playoff drought, a new tradition had emerged. After every victory the Kings shoot a powerful purple laser into the sky above their home court, the Golden 1 Center. The Kings’ recent success has provided plenty of opportunities for the “victory beam” to grace the Californian sky. The phrase “light the beam”, has gained popularity on social media and the victory beam has become a symbol of the Kings rapid transformation from bottom feeders to genuine contenders.
The Kings have suffered immensely over the last two decades. If the team’s losing ways wasn’t bad enough for fans, the success of the three other NBA teams in California was the icing on the cake. The Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors have won a combined seven championships since the Kings last made the playoffs. And the Los Angeles Clippers have been perennial contenders for the better half of two decades. But the energy has shifted. The Kings currently boast the best record of any Californian team and look set to cause major disruptions in this season’s playoffs.
Sacramento’s sudden turnaround has been led by star Point guard De’Aaron Fox, who is making a massive comeback after a number of disappointing seasons. Big man Domantas Sabonis has proved he was worth a hefty trade package with his solid defence and dominant rebounding. The selection of Keegan Murray with the fourth pick in this year’s draft has paid dividends, with the rising rookie providing terrific shooting and floor spacing. While the offseason additions of Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter have helped the Kings develop one of the NBA’s best offenses.
This is unfamiliar territory for the Kings organisation and fans. After years of mediocrity, Sacramento finally has a team worth cheering for and one that commands the development of a victory tradition. Enter the victory beam. Kings’ chairman Vivek Ranadive says he wanted to build a winning culture and give fans something to look forward to after a victory. The beam has done just that.
The beam debuted following the Kings victory over the Miami heat on October 29th. Kings’ fans and the wider NBA community have since embraced the beam. Ranadive told NBC Sports “It’s become almost like a beacon of hope for everyone.”
The beam is seriously impressive. It’s the product of some advanced tech that make it the brightest coloured laser in the world. The beam draws power from four lasers which produce up to 1,000 watts of energy. With so much energy being concentrated into the sky, you might think the victory beam presents a hazard for passing airplanes. Anticipating this, the Kings had to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration before unleashing the purple laser.
When the victory beam first appeared, it caused some confusion for Sacramento residents. With multiple reports of extra-terrestrial activity and UFO sighting’s from concerned citizens. A Kings spokesperson had to clarify that the mysterious light, which reaches further into the sky than the human eye can see, was not aliens and was in fact the team’s new tradition to alert citizen’s of their teams victory.
The victory beam is here to stay. Whether the Kings can keep winning and keep the beam active remains to be seen. But after a promising start to the season, it looks like Sacramento’s 16 year playoff drought could finally end.