William E. Ricks5 minutes to read
Sacramento Kings fans, rejoice!
With a 120-80 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento clinched a spot in the NBA Playoffs.
It’s been a while since Sacramento qualified for the postseason — 2006, to be exact. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Kings have a playoff berth catching a 16-season postseason drought, the longest streak in NBA history. Prior to Monday, it was the longest active dry playoff in four major American sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL).
Much has changed in sport and society during the Kings’ absence. The iPhone hadn’t yet taken the world by storm, former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was on the verge of an NBA Finals performance for the ages, and social media hadn’t been the two most notable platforms.
Here’s a look at some of the highlights in sports and society since the last time the Kings made the playoffs.
The birth of the iPhone
The last time the Kings made the playoffs, little did the world know that the iPhone would become one of the most sought-after phones of all time. Former Apple CEO and late Steve Jobs introduced the smartphone in January 2007, describing the device as “a magical and revolutionary product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone,” according to The company’s website.
Dwyane Wade leads an amazing comeback to the NBA Finals
Sacramento’s last playoff appearance was short-lived, as they were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Fast-forward to that year’s NBA Finals: Wade and the Heat fell 0-2 to the Dallas Mavericks. Close to the brink of elimination, Wade carried his team to its first NBA title.
Wade averaged 39.2 points per game over the next four contests, all wins. In the deciding game 6, the “Flash” dropped 36 points with 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks in a 95-92 win to claim their first championship. His string of stunts earned him Finals MVP honors. He became the fourth player to score more than 35 points in four consecutive Finals matches. Michael Jordan (1993), Rick Barry (1967) and Elgin Baylor (1962) are the others.
“Wade is the best player ever,” Shaquille O’Neal said of Wade after the game. NBA.com.
No Twitter or Instagram
Twitter and Instagram have become huge platforms in the social media space, but they weren’t there when the Kings last appeared in the postseason. Twitter wasn’t launched until July 2006, originally called “Twttr,” and Instagram didn’t hit the scene until 2010.
No. 8 Kobe Bryant
The Kings have had plenty of battles with Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant over the years, but Bryant was rocking the No. 8 jersey when Sacramento last saw him out in the postseason.
Bryant was in his final season wearing No. 8 as the Kings made the 2006 playoffs, changing his number to 24 prior to the 2006-07 campaign. Bryant played 639 games in jersey number 24, scored 16,777 points, and won two NBA championships. He also added two regular season MVPs and two Finals MVPs during the No. 24 era.
Read more: Inside Kobe Bryant’s Legendary Careers
All of the current Kings players were in their youth the last time Sacramento played the playoffs. The Kings’ oldest player, Matthew Dellavedova, was 15, and the team’s youngest player, Keegan Murray, was just 5.
Stars D. Aaron Fox and Malik Monk were 8 years old.
Daniel Powter tops the Billboard year-end charts
It can be said that the Kings had many bad days during the post-season drought. Speaking of bad days, Canadian musician and songwriter Daniel Powter’s song “Bad Day” was the number one song on the year-end Billboard Hot 100 charts the last time Sacramento tasted the postseason. Other notable No. 1 hits in 2006 were Rihanna’s “SOS”, D4L’s Laffy Taffy, Mariah Carey’s “Don’t Forget About Us” and Beyoncé’s “Check On It” featuring Slim Thug.
ESPN stats and info contributed to this story.
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