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Kings History: How the ‘Cowbell Kingdom’ got its name

Kings fans have Phil Jackson to thank for one thing and one thing only.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve been to a Kings game in Sacramento, your ears have been attacked with the bell-ringing by the home fans. The cowbell is a very unique item the Sacramento faithful bring with them to every home game that has earned them the nickname, the “Cowbell Kingdom”.

The tradition began in 2002 when the Sacramento Kings were facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. During the series, Phil Jackson, the Lakers’ former head coach, was quoted calling Sacramento a “cow town” with “semi-civilized” fans.

The fans responded by bringing cowbells to every home game during the series, which at the time had an impact on the opposing team. When rang at the same time, thousands of cowbells is not what you want to hear when shooting a free throw, as one can imagine.

Since that series, the cowbells have become a tradition at every home game.

When the Kings moved to their beautiful new stadium in Downtown Sacramento in 2016, a three-foot tall cowbell was placed in the corridor between the locker room and the court for the players to ring.

For the inaugural season of the Golden 1 Center, Kings season ticket holders were gifted small cowbells commemorating the stadium to bring into the games and create havoc for opposing teams.

The Kings aren’t as dominant as they were in the early-200s, and less fans are going to games as a result, but the tradition is still alive and hopefully one day soon they’ll ring loud in a postseason setting once again.