The Sacramento Kings made their final visit to Seattle on this day 12 years ago, and beat the Supersonics to close out the rivalry between two teams that battled in the Pacific Division for 23 years.
The 2007-08 season was the Kings’ first season under head coach Reggie Theus, who took over for Eric Mussleman after the Kings went 33-49 in the previous season. Walking bucket Kevin Martin led the Kings with 31 points, Metta World Peace (or Ron Artest as he was known then) chipped in with 29 points, and Francisco Garcia had 21 points off the bench to help Sacramento to a 120-107 win.
Even though the Kings improved to 33-40 with the win and matched their win total from the season before, World Peace still wasn’t happy that the team would miss the playoffs for the second straight year.
“It’s a failure,” World Peace said after the game, according an AP report from March 30, 2008. “We have one of the best defensive players to ever play the game in myself. We have Brad [Miller] and Kevin [Martin], up and coming first and second team All-NBA guys, and we have some good point guards, so it’s a failure that we didn’t make the playoffs.”
The win kick-started a four-game winning streak for the Kings, who couldn’t find any consistency that season. On the flip side, it was Kevin Durant’s rookie year and he was impressive in this game, putting up 25 points.
This was the 100th matchup between the two franchises since the Kings relocated from Kansas City for the 1985-86 season. The Kings went 41-59 against the Sonics while they were in Seattle.
Although they wouldn’t play on the court again, the two cities were linked again throughout the 2012-13 season when the Maloofs were in negotiations to sell the team to a group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, who wanted to relocate the team to Seattle. We all know how that turned out.
The NBA rejected the move and the Kings were ultimately sold to an ownership group led by current owner Vivek Ranadive. At the time, Ranadive was looked at a savior, but the good will he had from the purchase has mostly dissipated since.
Still, the Kings are in Sacramento where they belong, and Seattle is still waiting for basketball to return to their city. Hopefully one day soon, we can have a league with both teams.
*An earlier version of this story stated that the SuperSonics played in the Pacific Division, and while that is true, they played in the Northwestern Division when this game was played. We regret this error.