Slamson steps aside, lets Army veteran surprise children at Kings game

Austin Sullivan guided his sister Brooke as they walked blindfolded across the court at Golden 1 Center on Tuesday night, his left hand outstretched in search of the Sacramento Kings’ mascot Slamson.

By the time Austin made contact with his target, though, the jersey-wearing lion had stepped aside for a man in U.S. Army fatigues. Sgt. First Class Shawn Sullivan greeted his children for the first time in nearly a year following a deployment to Afghanistan.

Players and fans cheered as Sullivan embraced his children while Skylar Grey’s verse of “Coming Home” blared over the stadium speakers. Sullivan, a Galt resident, later posted a Facebook video of his time in Afghanistan with the same song.

Sullivan served 20 years in the Army, according to his Facebook page, and was previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2004 and 2012.

The Kings went on to win 99-92 over the Phoenix Suns, thanks to 18 points from George Hill and 17 from Zach Randolph.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel