Purple wave: From Sacramento to Stockton, Kings cash in on "beam team" gleam
STOCKTON -- It's the tale of two cities, both united by purple and basketball.
From the Sacramento Kings to its G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings, there is room for two crowns in the region.
The Stockton Kings are the number one team in the league, and hosting playoff play at the end of the month. Meanwhile, Sacramento is fighting for the top seed in the West and is on the verge of ending the longest playoff drought in NBA history.
The 209 is now cashing in on the "beam team" franchise built this season in Sacramento, a win for both cities.
"We are diehard purple," said one Stockton fan at the Kings' last home game Wednesday night.
"Go Stockton Kings!" chanted two kids dressed out for the 209.
You could say purple fever has Stockton sick with pride and excitement, similar to the energy seen in Sacramento this season.
"You can definitely feel it this year," said a Stockton fan at Wednesday's game.
"I hope we go all the way to the finals!" said another.
If the city is looking a bit more purple than usual, you can thank Mayor Kevin Lincoln. He led the charge to get City Hall, Stockton Arena and the Weber Point Fountains lit up purple for the duration of the Stockton Kings' playoff run.
In a photo posted to social media, Mayor Lincoln said, "This is how we #lightthebeam at City Hall."
"At the end of the day, Stockton is looking for that positivity, that uplift," said Stockton City Councilmember Kimberly Warmsley.
With the purple wave cresting in Sacramento, she says the question became, how do we ride that momentum here?
"Sometimes we get territorial like it's a Sacramento thing or a Stockton thing. Now it's a regional thing," said Warmsley. "Go Kings or go home!"
Aaron Morales, VP of business operations for the Stockton Kings, says Sacramento has built something special and that is spilling over.
"People want to know... any chance of getting a beam in Stockton?" asked CBS13 reporter Ashley Sharp.
"We've had talks of this," Morales laughed. "We are taking some steps in that direction. We don't know where it is going to take us but we hope to come up with something here pretty soon."
Morales says Stockton is cashing in on the beam team gleam as ticket sales are up 30%.
"What we want to do is become a franchise like what they've been. They are one of the darlings of the NBA right now," said Morales.
You can thank Stockton's success on the court this year, too, with a 23-7 record.
"We are starting to rally around the team and starting to make this what we always dreamed it would be and that's to be this communal gathering point for the city of Stockton," said Morales.
It's bigger than basketball for the number one team in the G-league, and the proof is in the purple.
Furthering their Sacramento regional collaboration, the Stockton Kings are playing their final game of the regular season at Golden 1 Center on Friday afternoon for the very first time.
"It's a chance for us to expand our brand, get more awareness for the team," said Morales. "And we hope to make it an annual thing."
The Stockton Kings clinched a first-round bye into the playoffs and will host post-season play at Stockton Arena at the end of the month.
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