NBA Championships: 1
Last NBA Championship: 1951
Claim to Fame: The Kings won 55 or more games every season from 2000-01 to 2003-04.
Claim to Shame: The Kings have been shut out of the playoffs since the 2006-07 season.
It may come as a surprise to modern NBA fans, but the Kings weren’t always awful. Far from it, in fact.
This frequently ridiculed franchise sprung into existence in 1948 in Rochester, New York, and played one season in the now defunct BAA before joining the newly formed NBA in 1949. Known then as the Royals, they ran circles around the competition during their first two seasons, and won their first – and only – NBA championship in 1951 thanks to future Hall of Famers Red Holzman and Bob Davies.
The Royals moved twice more over the next 28 years, shacking up in Cincinnati from 1957 to 1972 and putting down roots in Kansas City from 1972 to 1985. Although they failed to reach the Finals during those two stops, they did produce their fair share of stars including Oscar Robertson, who earned MVP honors in 1964, and Nate “Tiny” Archibald, who led the league in scoring and assists in 1972-73.
The Kings, as they became known during their time in KC, moved to their present home of Sacramento in 1985. The team struggled mightily during its first decade in the California capital, but gradually became one of the best teams in the NBA by the late 1990’s thanks to All-Star talent like Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, and Brad Miller. Together they reached the postseason eight consecutive times and came within a game of winning the Western Conference Finals in 2002.
Recent history has not been so kind. The Kings have spent more time in the lottery than the playoffs over the last ten years, and have been a sub .500 team since the 2006-07 season. Hope is on the horizon thanks to a bevy of promising draft picks, but Sacramento is likely still a few years away from competing in the loaded Western Conference.