Learn how Sacramento fans and players enjoyed a day of walking, basketball and music in support of local charities. Plus, find out which Kings up-and-comers sang to a veteran teammate.
The Kings hosted Rhythm ‘N Rims on Sunday, which featured a fun-filled open practice, Phil Vassar concert and high-flying mascot show on the heels of a morning 5K walk.
“It’s a great atmosphere,” said Sacramento fan Joe Dougadile, who’s been attending home games since the early 2000s. “It’s fun and the Kings like it, too, because they get to know the fans a little better.”
Players appreciated the support of enthusiastic attendees, who clapped, cheered and chanted throughout the evening festivities.
“I think the Kings have one of the best (fan-bases) in the League – especially when we start winning, I think it’s going to be even better,” said Tyreke Evans. “It’s always good to come out and play in front of the fans – we just went out and had fun.”
Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Marcus Thornton and Tyler Honeycutt, among others, thrilled the crowd with a spectacular display of crossovers and rim-rocking dunks, while Francisco Garcia and Jimmer Fredette swished dozens of long-range shots during a rare inside glimpse at Kings practice.
During a timeout on the court, Chuck Hayes joined Kings Breakers with his own dance routine, shuffling his feet and spinning on the floor to a loud ovation.
“We’re having a lot of fun,” said Kings fan Kimberly and her nephew Caden, donning a purple No. 7 jersey. “We wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.”
At the conclusion of an entertaining scrimmage, rookie Thomas Robinson sang the theme song from “Barney & Friends” to the delight of the crowd. Honeycutt then joined No. 0 in signing “Happy Birthday” to a recently-turned 23-year-old Evans.
Purple-and-black faithful of all ages, including youngsters Dillon and Braden Sacido, enjoyed the mascot show, in which Jazz Bear of Utah, Harry the Hawk of Atlanta and Rocky the Mountain Lion of Denver joined Slamson in dunking and half-court shooting contests.
“I think the mascots were my favorite – they put on a great show,” said Sue Sheridan, adding players looked cohesive throughout practice.
“I’ve been coming here for three years,” she added with a smile. “For my 66th birthday, my husband bought me season tickets.”
After showing the home crowd some of the concepts they’ve honed throughout training camp, Kings players and coaches are excited to carry the positive momentum into the 2012-13 regular season.
“I can’t wait – the 31st, that’s when we get started,” said Evans. “I think we’re ready, we’re going to get back to practice for two days and head to Chicago.”
“I think we had a lot of fun tonight … (but) now we’ve just got to get back to work and prepare for the Bulls,” affirmed Assistant Coach Bobby Jackson.
“We have a young team that’s willing to come out and play hard and do the things that we’ve been working on in training camp,” continued Jackson. “I’m excited, the fans are excited and the guys are extremely excited to get the season underway.”