The Sacramento Kings have been one of the NBA’s biggest surprises this season. The long maligned team has returned their luck and are announcing victories with a unique celebration.
For a long time, the Sacramento Kings were the laughingstock of the NBA. The Kings own the longest active playoff drought in the league, having missed the playoffs every year since 2006. Since moving to Sacramento from Kansas City in 1986, the Kings have never even reached the NBA Finals, let alone won a championship. This season is different. The Kings are 10-7 and are coming off a seven-game winning streak, their longest since 2004.
As the Kings look set to break their playoff drought, a new tradition has emerged. After each win, the Kings fire a powerful purple laser into the sky above their home field, the Golden 1 Center. The Kings’ recent success has provided ample opportunity for the “victory ray” to grace the California skies. The phrase “turn on the beam” gained popularity on social media and the victory beam became a symbol of the Kings’ rapid transformation from bottom to top into real contenders.
The Kings have suffered tremendously over the past two decades. If the team’s losing ways weren’t bad enough for the fans, the success of the other three NBA teams in California was the icing on the cake. The Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors have won seven championships combined since the Kings last appeared in the playoffs. And the Los Angeles Clippers have been perennial contenders for the better half of two decades. But the energy has changed. The Kings currently have the best record of any California team and look set to cause major disruption in this season’s playoffs.
Sacramento’s sudden turnaround was led by star point guard De’Aaron Fox, who is making a strong comeback after several disappointing seasons. Big man Domantas Sabonis proved he was worth a big trade package with his solid defense and dominating rebound. The selection of Keegan Murray with the fourth pick in this year’s draft has paid off, with the rising rookie providing terrific shooting and ground spacing. While the offseason additions of Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter have helped the Kings develop one of the best offenses in the NBA.
This is uncharted territory for the organization and Kings fans. After years of mediocrity, Sacramento finally has a team worth cheering on and commanding the development of a winning tradition. Step into the victory ray. Kings president Vivek Ranadive said he wanted to build a winning culture and give fans something to look forward to after a win. The beam did just that.
The Beam made its debut following the Kings’ victory over the Miami Heat on October 29e. Kings fans and the wider NBA community have since embraced the beam. Ranadive told NBC Sports “It almost became like a beacon of hope for everybody.”
The beam is really impressive. It is the product of advanced technology that makes it the brightest color laser in the world. The beam is powered by four lasers that produce up to 1,000 watts of energy. With so much energy concentrated in the sky, you might think the Victory Beam poses a hazard to passing planes. Anticipating this, the Kings had to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration before firing the violet laser.
When the victory ray first appeared, it confused the people of Sacramento. With multiple reports of extraterrestrial activity and UFO sightings by concerned citizens. A Kings spokesperson had to clarify that the mysterious light, which stretches farther into the sky than the human eye can see, was not extraterrestrial and was in fact the team’s new tradition for alert the citizens of their team’s victory.
The Victory Ray 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 may finally be coming to an end.