Stockton Kings Host Inaugural Opener
On November 2nd, the newly moved NBA G-League team Stockton Kings hosted their very first game in the Stockton Arena, losing to the Oklahoma City Blue by a score of 124-89. The Stockton Kings are the NBA development-league team affiliate of the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings, formerly known as the Reno Bighorns, have been affiliated with the Sacramento Kings since their founding in 2008, and have been a part of the Sacramento Kings ownership since 2016, after the Kings changed ownership in 2013. While the Stockton Kings are still searching for their first home win, their first franchise win since the move from Reno would come only a day later with a 108-106 win over the South Bay Lakers, an El Segundo-based affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Stockton community welcomed their new team with an opening night crowd of 5000, with guests including Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac, team owner Vivek Ranadive, and Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs in attendance. The Kings struggled offensively, scoring on just 38% of their attempted shots, and 26% from outside the 3-point line. The Stockton offense was led by Kalin Lucas, who scored 19 points coming off of the bench for the Kings. In their final season in Reno, the former Bighorns finished first in their division, winning their third franchise division championship in their final season before their move to the Central Valley.
Since the announcement of the franchise’s arrival in Stockton, more and more about the Stockton Kings was revealed leading up to the inaugural hope opener, including the logos, the roster, the jerseys, and most recently, the mascot Dunkson, a purple-mohawk-sporting lion and younger brother of Sacramento Kings mascot Slamson. While the Stockton Kings share the name and colors of their parent club, the Stockton Kings logos more prominently feature themes of their new stomping grounds, with a celebratory mural even being painted in downtown Stockton to welcome the Kings to the 209.
Hopefully, this new era of basketball in Stockton will see success as the Kings begin to settle into their new home.