As part of the “Junior Kings” ticket package, a select group of lucky young Kings fans joined forwards Jason Thompson and Darnell Jackson on the floor of Power Balance Pavilion Tuesday as the two big men fielded questions from the children and walked the group through skill-enhancing drills.
The night’s festivities tipped-off with a fun-filled dance contest and the two players partaking in a Q&A session with the young supporters. Three children competed in the dance contest and all were awarded with Kings jerseys for their efforts. In the Q&A session, Thompson revealed he was 5-foot-11 upon entering high school, while Jackson already stood 6-foot-5 by his freshman year.
Discussing the inspiration behind their professional careers, Jackson reflected upon the impact his mentor at the local Boys & Girls Club and also revealed another form of inspiration fans might not guess – gummi bears. When asked about his pregame routine and eating habits, the Kings forward simply responded, “I eat gummi bears.”
Although his teammate’s response was not met by the same laughter, Thompson, who cited his parents as mentors, still earned the respect of the children. The third-year forward encouraged them to exercise and eat healthy meals such as pasta and chicken.
After their discussion, the players hosted a skills clinic. On one side of the floor, Thompson hosted rounds of knockout, while Jackson led his young dribblers through lay-up lines and wind-sprints. The Jr. Kings brought their best to the evening’s drills and consistently showed a smooth shooting stroke — even eliminating Thompson from several games.
Following the conclusion of the drills, the Sacramento teammates posed for pictures with the participants at center court, but not before an impromptu half-court shooting contest erupted. After numerous attempts, Jackson was eventually crowned the winner with a half-court swish amidst many cheers.
Judging from the many made shots and inspired faces, it seems fans may have to keep an eye out for the Jr. Kings.