As Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof addressed a crowd of reporters along one of the baselines inside Power Balance Pavilion before the game against the Utah Jazz, a fan in a jeweled crown and white Kings jersey leaned over the railing behind him.
"Thanks for staying in Sacramento!" the fan yelled.
Maloof grinned, turned slightly away from the cameras and replied, "Yeah!"
The Kings played at their home of nearly a quarter-century Tuesday night for the first time since the city of Sacramento and the Kings announced Monday a tentative deal to build a new downtown arena, which would keep the team in the city beyond this season.
As he made his way into Power Balance an hour before tip-off, Juan Vargas wore an orange construction vest over his white Chris Webber jersey.
Written on the back of the vest were the words, "Sac Town, Ready to Build."
"I had this planned a long time ago," said Vargas, 25, of Sacramento, who also carried a sign proclaiming himself a member of Ironworkers Local Union No. 118. "Our mayor did his job. We're ready to build this arena."
Vargas and Leticia Arredondo, 26, of Sacramento, settled into seats a few rows from where Barbara Rust, 63, of Folsom had assembled her own line of signs. The signs included, "Home Sweet Home Sacramento," and, "If we build it, they will stay."
"I absolutely thought it would happen," said Rust, a longtime Kings fan known as the "Sign Lady" by many. "It's like a dream come true."
Doug Hobbs, 47, of Woodland, said he was not always so confident.
"We don't have as much to offer, it seems like, as cities like Seattle or Orlando," said Hobbs, who said he takes "great pride" in having the Kings play in Sacramento. "But this new arena, I'm jazzed."
Kings forward Donté Greene said there has been little discussion within the team about the promise of a new arena, but that he is "happy for the city."
"They've been wanting to get an arena for a long time and keep the team here," Greene said.
"They did that, and it looks like the Sacramento Kings will be in Sacramento for a very long time."
At the first timeout of the game, with 5:33 left in the first quarter and the Jazz leading, 15-14, Gavin and Joe Maloof walked to center court amid a standing ovation. Gavin then addressed the crowd.
"At the end of the day it's all about this," Maloof said, indicating the crowd, which was loud despite blocks of empty seats scattered throughout the upper level.
Maloof thanked Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, the NBA, commissioner David Stern and arena operator AEG, before addressing the crowd directly.
"Thank you for all you do, thank you for the love that you've shown our family," Maloof said.
"We still love you, we always loved you, and we always will love you. Thank you."
With 9:34 left in the first half, Johnson entered the arena through a players' tunnel, and also received a standing ovation.
Johnson waved to the crowd and walked along one sideline, shaking hands with fans.
When he reached Gavin and Joe Maloof, he hugged them and then led them back toward the center of the court, where he held the brothers' hands up in a gesture of triumph.
"Sacramento, I'm so proud of you as a community," Johnson said.
"We did it. You're going to see basketball here for many years."