The medieval-looking royal shield is gone, replaced by a modern look that pays tribute to the franchise’s roots in Kansas City and Cincinnati.
At a gala ceremony outside their new arena, the Sacramento Kings unveiled a family of new logos Tuesday, to the delight of hundreds of season ticket holders and a sprinkling of current and former players.
Team executives said the five purple-and-gray logos were designed to reflect the franchise’s long history, including the look the Kings sported when they relocated to Sacramento from Kansas City in 1985, while offering a fresh image as the team prepares to move into Golden 1 Center this fall. The old logo, which combines a shield, crown, basketball and jousting lances, is being retired after 22 years.
“Today is the first day of the new era of the Sacramento Kings,” Chairman Vivek Ranadive told the crowd, who received free T-shirts with the new look. Alluding perhaps to the team’s 10th straight losing season, Ranadive promised that “better days are ahead” for the Kings.
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Uniforms incorporating the new designs will be unveiled in the coming weeks.
Team officials said privately they were annoyed that the new logos leaked over the weekend to Sportslogos.net, which obtained black-and-white drawings of logos that had been filed by the NBA with the European Union’s trademark office. Nonetheless, the team decided to make a big splash of the new logos.
Among those in attendance: general manager Vlade Divac, director of player personnel Peja Stojakovic, and broadcasters Bobby Jackson and Doug Christie. All four played together during the Kings’ glory days in the early 2000s. Kings President Chris Granger, speaking to the crowd, made plenty of references to the city’s successful effort to keep the Kings from leaving town in 2011 and 2013.
Along with the free T-shirts, fans who attended the ceremony were given brief tours inside Golden 1 Center, where banners have already been hung with the new logos. The team said Kings mascot Slamson and others would fan out to nine area schools during the day, bringing gifts for more than 5,000 students. Granger said Kaiser Permanente, a team sponsor, will donate Kings stuffed animals to children born over the next few weeks. The Kings website immediately offered fans the chance to buy caps and other gear with the new designs.
Oh, and one more thing: The Kings said they’d pay to have a limited number of fans tattoo the new logos on their bodies Wednesday. The free tattoos will be available Wednesday on a first-come, first-serve basis at the Royal Peacock tattoo parlor in midtown Sacramento, Honeymoon Tattoo in Fair Oaks, California Tattoo in Citrus Heights, Quarter Horse Tattoo in Stockton and Crimson Needles in Penryn.
At the Golden 1 ceremony, early reviews of the new designs were positive.
“It gives everybody a sense of starting over again,” said Dennis Bissell, a season ticket holder for nine years.
Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein, wearing a new T-shirt and cap, said: “It’s nice, it’s smooth, it’s cool. Not too much, not too little. It gets the point across.”
The main logo features a basketball, crown and the team’s name. One alternate logo has the same motif with the word “Sac” instead of the full name. Another consists simply of a purple crown, while two others depict lions, including one dribbling a basketball.
Granger said the new main logo “is an homage to 1985,” when the franchise left Kansas City. But the idea also was to reach further back into franchise history, he said. The old Cincinnati Royals sported a similar look in the early 1970s.
The main difference between old and new: The Kansas City and Cincinnati logos were red and blue, while the new designs lean heavily on the purple the team has used since the 1990s.