Basketball royalty comes to Stockton

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Blues player, Tyler Davis chasing the ball from Kings player, Taren Sullivan in the first period. Photos by Catlan Nguyen.
Blues player, Tyler Davis chasing the ball from Kings player, Taren Sullivan in the first period. Photos by Catlan Nguyen.
Kings Kalin Lucas attempting to shoot but getting shoved by Blues player.
Kings Kalin Lucas attempting to shoot but getting blocked by Blues player. This was deemed a foul by the Blues. Photos by Catlan Nguyen.

After the announcement of Stockton getting a team for NBA’s minor league, known as G-League, fans have long awaited the Stockton Kings’ first game. 

On Nov. 2, the Stockton Kings went head-to-head against the Oklahoma Blues in the team’s first home game.

Almost every seat in the stadium sections were packed once the doors opened at 6 p.m.

The various delectable food stands and three bouncy houses added to the fans’ excitement and had the children of Kings’ fans giddy with joy as if at Disneyland. 

The bouncy houses even attracted lines of gleeful children during the game. Balloon animals were also made during the game and the light projections to the wall behind the bouncy houses read “Stockton” in large blue letters outlined with green and added to the grandeur that was the Kings’ first game ever.

The bouncy houses located in the Stockton Arena during the Stockton's first game ever.
The bouncy houses located in the Stockton Arena during the Stockton Kings’ first game ever. Photos by Catlan Nguyen.

“I think it’s going to be a really exciting experience for Stockton to have a new team,” said fan David Lipari.

Mayor Michael Tubbs kicked off the game around 7 p.m. with a speech for the packed arena about how excited he was for the Kings’ first game. 

Mayor Tubbs and Anna Malaika NtiAsare-Tubbs speaking to an official.
Mayor Tubbs and Anna Malaika NtiAsare-Tubbs speaking to an official. Photos by Catlan Nguyen.

Stockton King’s dancers held a basketball court-sized flag while a local high school choir students sang the national anthem. Actual flames flew out of the basketball hoops on the court during “the rockets’ red glare” part of the anthem. 

Fans in attendance were mixed on whether the Kings would win, but all had endless amounts of support and love for Stockton’s new G-league team. 

“I think this [team] is an awesome opportunity for the community that they haven’t had before,” said fan Jamie Magdaleno.

After each player from both teams were introduced and came onto the court, the game began. 

The Kings started off strong by scoring the first couple of points, but the Blues quickly caught up and passed the Kings by the end of the first period. 

The points the Blues gained in the lead didn’t stop the crowd from continually cheering for every point the Kings scored and led to “Let’s go Stockton” chants during the second period.

In the second period, Anthony Walker #44 dunked on the Blues, causing the crowd to lose it and rally cheers to encourage the Kings.

After the second period, Cesar Chavez High School’s drumline and breakdancers performed. 

Cesar Chavez drum line and breakdancers performing for the King's halftime show on Nov. 2, 2018.
Cesar Chavez High School’s drum line and break-dancers performing for the King’s halftime show on Nov. 2, 2018. Photos by Catlan Nguyen

The Stockton Kings’ mascot, Dunkson, riled the crowd up with a cheer off against both sides of the arena.

During a timeout in the third period, the Stockton Kings dancers performed. 

T-shirts and toy basketballs were thrown into the crowd during almost every timeout. 

Kings fans were especially passionate when they boo-ed almost every Blues player who had a free throw.

Even with endless support and energy, the Stockton Kings lost to the Oklahoma Blues with a final score of 124-89.

The Stockton Kings’ next game will be on Sun. Nov 11 at the Stockton Arena at one p.m. For more information on the Stockton Kings, visit stockton.gleague.nba.com.