Golden 1 Center and Kings New Season
After years of Arco Arena and a team that got shopped around, the Sacramento Kings found an owner in Vivek Ranadive (and ownership group) who promised to build them a new home, the Golden 1 Center.
As the 49ers went from Candlestick to Levi's and the overwhelming consensus cries "way to destroy the heart and soul of a team, fanbase and organization" I worried that the Kings might fall victim to the same idea of building the newest and the best, getting corporate sponsors and forget about everything else. Or you have AT&T Park, which no matter how you feel about the Giants and their fanbase, you gotta admit it's one of the best parks around for atmosphere. It doesn't have the legacy of Wrigley Field or Fenway Park, but it's like the Disneyland of baseball stadiums but with a better view. And, in my preliminary first game review, I think Golden 1 got it right!
Inside, it still feels like Arco almost. It didn't try to "look" like the newest and the best or a big ostentatious display of luxury boxes. Added the first 4K videoboard in the NBA and feels intimate.
Outside, fans roam around. There's an overpriced (unless you are really into the art world) sculpture, but everyone gets to enjoy it, so maybe it will refine our tastes and knowledge of modern art. And created enough buzz that even people without tickets to the game, came out "to see what an 8 million dollar sculpture looks like" and talk about it.
There's a sweet little lemon tree to honor the folks who set up a lemonade stand as their effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento. Next to speakers playing cricket noises as "audio art".
And it's in the heart of downtown. Where development is booming, the area is being "revitalized" whatever that means, with bars and restaurants and people are buzzing about. Even after the game, Brandon Rush of the Minnesota Timberwolves who many locally might remember as Brandon Rush, previously of the Warriors, was out roaming about, and people passed him with a reciprocated "hey" or in silence and then turned to their friend "Did you see that was Brandon Rush?" as opposed to surrounding him, or asking for a selfie, or any other element that treats players like coddled and overly admired celebrities who are caravanned place to place unable to interact with real fans as humans.
My favorite part of the new arena. Even though my former communications contact has moved over to the Warriors, it's all the same people. Even the sweet older lady who wears a tight bun with a purple scrunchie that always served us the arguably terrible but free so I can't complain food, is still there, now serving us significantly better food, with a real salad bar, as part of the effort of committing to 90% of the food served in the entire arena being from within 150 miles of the Golden 1 Center. In a region where that is entirely practical, it is SO appreciated! And she served it up, and even came around picking up plates like it was some kind of dining experience, with a newfound enthusiasm, for the arena and her employer, as she mentioned that she took the bus in to work and how easy the commute was. While technology 3.0 is all the buzz, I'm more into 3.0 that moves us forward as a community, not just as people who want powerful enough wi-fi to be able to instagram from their seat... myself included ;)
While Kings lost their home opener to the Spurs (though by a significantly smaller differential than the Warriors lost to the Spurs by) they won the game I covered in an exciting come from behind and barely hold on win against the Timberwolves.
I'm sure Vivek is over the moon. And actually I know he is, because he told me so at one of the Giants playoff games. I've heard he's perhaps an overly-involved owner, but I gotta say, he's definitely the only owner who consistently says hi to me if I pass him and even greets me at another bay area events he attends. Though I'm sure he wouldn't recognize without cameras which is entirely fair, I don't think a majority of majority owners even see let alone acknowledge us through the lens of who is "important" to know. And he got an arena built for a team that so desperately needed saving a year ahead of the term required by NBA in his purchasing agreement. A man of no significant stature, who dresses very understated, but as most of us would love to see any boss or manager, just show up, be in the trenches with us and make decisions because you actually see what's going on.
Former NBA Player, and current Mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson was also there, all smiles as the team he spearheaded the campaign to save played in the arena no one thought would ever exist. But I was more excited that Michelle Rhee sat to his left so I could write my caption as "Education activist Michelle Rhee and husband Mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson". As opposed to the "man and wife" language that permeates our culture. Small victory for feminists! Also I know we have a lot in common because they are both eating red vines ;)
Full set here
Keywords: Action, Basketball, Golden 1 Center, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, Sacramento Kings, Sports, USA Today Sports Images
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