As a heated and divisive presidential election reached its resolution Tuesday night, eyes in the Kings’ locker room naturally followed the results.
“Everybody was talking about it,” point guard Ty Lawson said. “Instagram, the locker room. I don’t think many people expected the outcome. It’s a little different.”
The Kings were wrapping up a 102-94 win over the New Orleans Pelicans late Tuesday night just as it became clear Donald Trump would be elected the 45th president of the United States. The outcome remained a topic of discussion after practice Wednesday.
“It was unexpected,” guard Garrett Temple said. “But we’ve got to come together. Like some people said, it’s Nov. 9, the day after, and we’ve got to just come together as a country. We’ve got a lot of problems we need to solve and we can only do it together.”
Kings players Wednesday mostly kept their individual views private while talking to reporters about the election. Forward Rudy Gay said the outcome does not change the fact that residents of the country share a responsibility to address some of the issues that arose during the election cycle.
“No matter who’s in charge, we still have to go out there and govern ourselves,” Gay said. “I think people get away from that. They think a new president’s going to change everything. We have to change our country.”
Gay was one of four Kings players – along with Temple, DeMarcus Cousins and Matt Barnes – who recently took part in a town-hall meeting with local youths, law enforcement and community leaders to address concerns about recent police violence in primarily African American in Sacramento communities and nationwide.
“Obviously the president of the United States doesn’t have time to focus on one situation,” Gay said. “This is a country that has to be ran. So I think, for us, in our communities, we have to learn to govern ourselves and be mindful of the law, mindful of situations. I think there’s a lot of situations that could have been avoided.”
Like many Americans on Wednesday, the Kings were getting used to the idea of Trump as president-elect.
“It is what it is,” Lawson said. “Everybody’s doubting Trump right now. But give him a chance to see how he does.”
Light session – The Kings held a light practice session Wednesday before hosting the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night in the first game of a back-to-back. Friday night in Portland will mark the Kings’ 11th game in 17 days to open the season.
“We’re starting to execute a little bit better offensively, so I don’t want to run them,” head coach Dave Joerger said. “This is a tough stretch … So I want to make sure we’re sharp on our stuff.”
After Friday, the Kings will have four days without a game. Joerger has said he plans to use that time to implement things on offense and defense that he hasn’t been able to due to the hectic early schedule.
“I’ve put everything on hold – which is maybe why we’re getting better at some of the other stuff, because we’re not trying to do other stuff,” Joerger said. “What we’re getting is reps in games, which you can’t simulate.”