Who is your favorite Kings coach in the Sacramento era?

Leading Off: First half of Kings' reign filled with pain

Published: Thursday, Apr. 11, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 11, 2013 - 7:43 am

The Kings are wrapping up their 28th season in Sacramento, so it's a good time to look back at memorable moments beginning with their first 14 seasons (on Sunday, we'll look at the last 14):

Opening night: Tuxedos, cowbells and 10,333 fans filled Arco Arena I on Oct. 25, 1985, to welcome the NBA to Sacramento. Derek Smith spoiled the party with 36 points in the Clippers' 108-104 victory, and the Kings' bosses were so enamored with his performance they traded for him during the offseason, despite knee surgery.

The playoffs: The Kings went 37-45 that inaugural season to land the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference playoffs, but they were swept by Houston in the first round. It would be 10 years before they made the playoffs again.

Jerry goes down: On Dec. 27, 1988, coach Jerry Reynolds collapsed at Arco Arena II during a game against the Jazz in one of the franchise's scariest moments. He was taken from the floor on a gurney, exhaustion cited as a key factor.

Berry leaves us too soon: Ricky Berry, the 18th overall pick of the 1988 draft, had a solid rookie season and looked to be the starting small forward for seasons to come. But on Aug. 14, 1989, Berry committed suicide for reasons still unknown.

Not so great: Bill Russell, one of the all-time-great players, was hired as coach on April 27, 1987, after being out of the game for 15 years. It was one of the worst hires in franchise history; Russell was 17-41 before being replaced by Reynolds.

Another tragedy: Bobby Hurley, selected seventh overall out of Duke, had his rookie season cut short after his 19th game on Dec. 12, 1993, when his SUV was slammed into by a station wagon. Though he played four more seasons, he was never the same player.

A new era begins: When the Kings took the floor on Feb. 5, 1999, for their 14th season in Sacramento (delayed by the lockout), the starting lineup included Chris Webber, Vlade Divac and Jason Williams, and the coach was Rick Adelman. The Kings went 27-23, the first of eight consecutive winning seasons.

Today's poll

Who is your favorite Kings coach in the Sacramento era?

• Rick Adelman

• Phil Johnson

• Jerry Reynolds

• Garry St. Jean

• Keith Smart

• Other

Vote above or leave your comments in the comment field, or go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Wednesday's results

Who is your favorite Kings player in the Sacramento era?

• Mike Bibby: 6%

• DeMarcus Cousins: 3%

• Vlade Divac: 21%

• Tyreke Evans: 0%

• Mitch Richmond: 19%

• Peja Stojakovic: 10%

• Chris Webber: 28%

• Jason Williams: 6%

• Other: 7%

Total votes: 621

Call The Bee's Tom Couzens, (916) 321-1097. Follow him on Twitter @tomcouzens.

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