William E. Riggs5 minutes of reading
Rejoice, Sacramento Kings fans!
With a 120-80 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento clinched a spot in the NBA playoffs.
It’s been a while since Sacramento qualified for the postseason — 2006, to be exact. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Kings’ playoff berth snaps a 16-season postseason drought, the longest streak in NBA history. Before Monday, it was the longest active playoff dry spell among the four major American sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL).
A lot has changed in the sport and society during the Kings’ absence from the playoffs. The iPhone hadn’t yet taken the world by storm, former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was on the verge of an NBA Finals performance for the ages, and two major social media platforms weren’t.
Here’s a look at some of the notable events in sports and society since the Kings last made the playoffs.
Birth of the iPhone
The last time the Kings made the playoffs, the world didn’t know that the iPhone would become one of the most sought-after phones of all time. Former Apple CEO and late Steve Jobs introduced the smartphone in January 2007, calling the device a “revolutionary and magical product”, five years ahead of any other mobile phone. Company website.
Dwyane Wade is leading an incredible NBA Finals comeback
Sacramento’s last playoff appearance was short-lived, as the San Antonio Spurs eliminated them in the first round. Fast-forward to the NBA Finals that year: Wade and the Heat lost 0-2 to the Dallas Mavericks. On the brink of elimination, Wade led his team to its first NBA title.
Wade averaged 39.2 points per game over the next four contests, all wins. In the game-clinching Game 6, “The Flash” dropped 36 points with 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks in a 95-92 victory to earn his first championship. His sensational streak earned him Finals MVP honors. He became the fourth player to score 35-plus points in four straight Finals games. Others were Michael Jordan (1993), Rick Barry (1967) and Elgin Baylor (1962).
“Wade is the best player ever,” Shaquille O’Neal said of Wade after the game. NBA.com.
No Twitter, no Instagram
Twitter and Instagram have become the biggest platforms in the social media space, but they didn’t exist when the Kings last made the postseason. Twitter didn’t launch until July 2006, originally called “Twttr,” and Instagram didn’t hit the scene until 2010.
No. 8 Kobe Bryant
The Kings had several battles with late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant over the years, but Bryant was rocking the No. 8 jersey when Sacramento last saw the postseason.
Bryant’s final season in 2006 saw the Kings make the playoffs 8th, as he made 24 before the 2006-07 campaign. Bryant no. Played in 639 games in 24 jerseys, scored 16,777 points and won two NBA championships. He said his no. He also added one regular season MVP and two Finals MVPs in a 24-year span.
read more: Inside Kobe Bryant’s two legendary careers
All of the current Kings players last made the Sacramento playoffs in their youth. Matthew Dellavedova, the Kings’ oldest player, is 15 years old, while Keegan Murray, the youngest player on the team, is just 5 years old.
Stars De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk are both 8 and older.
Daniel Bouter tops the year-end Billboard charts
It could be argued that the Monarchs have had many bad days during their seasonal drought. Speaking of bad days, Canadian musician and songwriter Daniel Pouter’s hit song “Bad Day” was the No. 1 song on the year-end Billboard Hot 100 chart. Other notable No. 1 hits in 2006 were Rihanna’s “SOS,” D4L’s “Laffy Taffy,” Mariah Carey’s “Don’t Forget About Us” and Beyoncé’s “Check On It” featuring Slim Thug.
ESPN Statistics and Information contributed to this story.
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