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The Sacramento Kings’ victory beam powering their surprising season, explained

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San Antonio Spurs v Sacramento Kings
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Kings are unstoppable. Light the beam!

The Sacramento Kings have been the laughingstock of the NBA for almost two decades. The Kings currently have the longest playoff drought across the four major American sports leagues, with their last postseason appearance coming way back in 2006. That title used to belong to the Seattle Mariners of MLB, but they finally broke their 21-year drought this past season. Now the Kings might be on the verge of doing the same thing in the NBA.

If the NBA Playoffs started today, the Kings would have homecourt advantage. The team is 10-6 through the start of this season, and is currently riding a seven-game winning streak after defeating the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night. The last time the Kings won seven games in a row was way back in 2004. Yes, this is brand new territory for everyone in the organization.

There are plenty of reasons for the Kings’ turnaround. Point guard De’Aaron Fox has enjoyed a major bounce-back season after a disappointing campaign last year. Their decision to trade Tyrese Haliburton for Domantas Sabonis — which was widely panned at the time (guilty) — has given Sacramento a dependable inside presence for the first time since the DeMarcus Cousins era. The Kings also added a lot of shooting over the offseason, drafting Keegan Murray, trading for Kevin Huerter, and signing Malik Monk as a free agent. All of it is working. Right now, the Kings have the No. 1 offense in the NBA.

There’s another reason why the Kings’ vibes are so good this year: the debut of a brand new victory beam. After every Kings win, home or away, the franchise sends four purple lasers into the air from their home arena, the Golden 1 Center. There’s nothing like this anywhere else in the NBA:

Kings fans yell “light the beam!” at every home game now, and the phrase has taken on a life of its own on social media. Huerter even nicknamed the Kings ‘the beam team,’ and it feels like that one is going to stick.

The beam was inspired by the Los Angeles Angels’ “Big A” sign in their parking lot, according to NBC Sports. Governor Vivek Ranadive said: “I want aliens to see it.”

“I just like the notion that this just goes into outer space,” Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé said in a Thursday interview with NBC Sports California. “It goes farther than the human eye can see. As a tech guy, having four lasers beaming into outer space is kind of cool.

The tradition started this year after the Kings got their first win against the Miami Heat after an 0-4 start. Now after every win in this surprising season, players and fans can’t wait to see the beam get lit up.

The last time the Kings made the playoffs, the iPhone had not been invented. So yeah, it’s been a while. If you’re anywhere near Sacramento, you only need to look up at the sky to see if the Kings won. So far, that beam has been lit more than anyone would have expected.

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