Ever since they finally cut ties with All Star DeMarcus Cousins in February, the Sacramento Kings have ushered in rapid changes to their roster. Out went Cousins, Rudy Gay, and Ben McLemore. In came new VP Scott Perry, Buddy Hield, and a fascinating mix of rookie talent and veterans, including De'Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, George Hill, Vince Carter, Zach Randolph and Bogdan Bogdanovich. For a team that hasn't made the playoffs in 11 years, it was yet another attempt at a complete do-over. Over the off-season, the team introduced a new look: new logos, new jerseys, all new everything.
But the very help of the team - majority owner Vivek Ranadive - remains the same. Ranadive, famously, is the first Indian-born owner of an NBA team, and despite his best intentions to make the Kings into a global brand by being leaders in the a high-tech push, the team's on-court failures have cast a dark cloud over all other promotional efforts. Over the years, Ranadive has made a major push in trying to lure the Indian and Indian-origin fan-base to his team, including Bollywood Nights, the team's Hindi-language website, live-streaming a game on Facebook in India, and even signing the first Indian-origin player - Sim Bhullar- to play in the NBA for his fifteen seconds of fame.
This week, the team debuted their latest plans to reach out to India and China for their hope of global fan outreach. The Kings unveiled an alternative court design for the 2017-18 season. "The new black court," says the team's official website, "reflects the design elements of the team’s global marks, including new logos specific to India and China. As part of the franchise’s mission, the team strives to make basketball the premier sport of the 21st century beyond traditional borders."
Look closely at the court, and if you aren't yet distracted by the Lannisters-like new logo in the center, you will notice two smaller logos on each end of the court inside the three-point lines with the words 'राजा' (Raja), the Hindi word for 'King'. The Kings unveiled a similar logo in Chinese characters 国王 which is pronounced as 'Guówáng'.
The team will use these alternative court designs during the games when they wear their new 'global uniforms' at home at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. More details via their official website:
The team will use this customizable floor through the season when wearing the Global Uniform at home. Building a brand that connects with fans around the world will help create an authentic connection with emerging international basketball audiences, from the court up through jerseys, apparel and more.
International elements are present throughout the new design. For the team’s biggest global celebrations, Bollywood and Lunar New Year theme nights, interchangeable panels featuring a new regional logo – a Kings crown featuring the team’s name in Hindi or Mandarin – will be added to the floor. The Kings will use these marks, in addition to the primary logo in future India and China endeavors.
The team will utilize three courts this season – the purple hardwood design from the 2017-18 season will return when the team wears the Association and Icon Edition uniforms, the new black court will be in place during games with global themes and when the team suits up in the Global uniform, and a third court will debut during the season when the team’s fourth uniform is announced.
This is a cool idea I guess, although, once again, I don't see many Indian fans paying attention to the team just because they occasionally have a Hindi word on the floor of a (likely) League Pass game. The Kings have to start succeeding. In their new backcourt of Fox and Hield, they may actually have the start of a wonderful young tandem. It's a pity that they will be playing in the cut-throat Western Conference, because despite their improvements, it seems like it's going to be yet another season outside the playoff picture in Sacramento.