Articles | Kings History

Tales from the Drought: Ronnie Price Posterizes Carlos Boozer

In our new series, we'll revisit great players or great moments that got lost in the losing.

As we spend this month looking back at some of the best times, moments, and players from the Sacramento Kings 16-year playoff drought, lets rewind to late November 2006. The Kings were at the very beginning of the drought, but no one knew it yet; after losing to the Spurs in the 2006 playoffs, Rick Adelman was canned, Eric Musselman was brought in, and the organization (at the cusp of the Maloof tomfoolery era) tried to move forward with an aging but still semi-promising roster. Mike Bibby, Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, Kenny Thomas, and Brad Miller were the starters to begin the season, and Shareef Abdur-Rahim and John Salmons rounded out what looked like - on paper - another hopeful playoff squad. And then on November 22, Ronnie Price announced his name to a sellout crowd in Sacramento as he dropped one of the most memorable and obscure dunks in Kings history.

Arco Arena went bonkers, Grant Napear gave his signature catchphrase and called it the dunk of the year, and Jerry Reynolds cackled "How do you like that, Mr. Boozer?!" Meanwhile, I was visiting my grandparents in Chico. I was trying to be more reserved than normal, as my grandfather was napping in the room as I watched that game; Price's dunk ended all silence in the house and may have led to my grandfather removing me from his will.

Indeed, Price's dunk did more than just light up the Arco crowd; it spurred a big belief in me that Price could be a real contributor to the next era of Kings basketball. Ronnie was in his second year with the team and was trying to prove he deserved further minutes, and throwing down a tomahawk on Carlos Boozer (an All Star that season, albeit one who averaged just 0.3 blocks that year) seemed like a great way to jumpstart his young career. And I was still a relatively young basketball fan at that point; I jumped on the Kings bandwagon during Game 1 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals, and hadn't yet seen "bad" Kings basketball. Price's dunk was proof that he could be a great player moving forward, because those were the types of players the Sacramento Kings had always had during my fandom. I truly believed that between him, Martin, Francisco Garcia, Quincy Douby, and Justin Williams (Justin freaking Williams!) the Kings had strong young talent moving forward. But I'd missed the grit and grind of Sacramento basketball in the 90s, and only ever saw the Golden Era of the squad - I was stuck in a form of basketball exceptionalism.

But sometimes a dunk is just a dunk. Despite the fact that the Kings were up 74-59 after that dunk, they eventually lost the contest 110-101. That dropped their record to 5-5, and while they hovered around .500 for a few more games, by the middle of December that hope was gone for good. Price even left Sacramento for Utah a year later. His masterpiece dunk is still one of my favorite Kings memories, but it was a near bookend for the 16 years of failure that followed.

 

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HongKongKingsFan
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August 2, 2022 8:17 am

The dunk itself is good..

But Jerry and Grant just made that dunk even better………

really enjoy the instant reaction by Grant, and Jerry reaction afterwards just make a perfect match

RobHessing
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August 2, 2022 8:25 am

Is there anything better than a giggling Jerry Reynolds?

Klam
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August 2, 2022 8:49 am
Reply to  RobHessing

A Jerry Reynolds GIF?
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DutchKingsFanInUK
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August 2, 2022 9:42 am
Reply to  Klam

What a handsome specimen

TerzoM
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August 2, 2022 8:47 am

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BabalooMagoo
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August 2, 2022 12:51 pm
Reply to  TerzoM

Wow! A Bill Cullen sighting. You youngsters will need to go check Wikipedia to see who he is.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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August 2, 2022 8:53 am

I didn’t watch that game live, but I can only imagine how it must’ve been to watch that dunk live.

If I recall, this same season (sometime in December) the Kings were down by double digits with four minutes left in the 4th quarter at Utah, and they ended up coming back and Shareef hit a three pointer to give the Kings the lead and they won the game with that as well.

Sacto_J
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August 2, 2022 2:05 pm
Reply to  Klam

I’ve rarely been left speechless by a basketball play and I was absolutely stunned. Jaw on the floor, what did I just witness, wait – whu…
I kept that game on my TiVo for years just for that dunk…lol

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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August 2, 2022 8:54 am

I remember watching that dunk live. I was living with my wife, pre-kids, in our house in Land Park. We were. couple of DINKs loving life and often spending our evenings in Mid-town. We still had a very large and very heavy square tube TV that I bought when I was in college to watch the World Cup in 2002. I remember that TV very clearly because I had to move it a few times. The TV, and the entertainment center is sat on, took up a good chunk of our small living room. We watched a lot of Kings games on it before finally upgrading to flat screen plasma.

That dunk brings me right back to those moments in my life. Christ, it’s been a long time since the Kings were any good. My oldest is now a sophomore in high school and has never known a Kings playoff team.

Klam
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August 2, 2022 9:03 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Heh, I was finishing up my freshman year in high school in Sac the last time the Kings were in the postseason. Now it’s been seven years since I graduated college and I’m gonna be 32 in three and a half months.
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Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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August 2, 2022 9:18 am
Reply to  Klam

I was a freshman in College. My entire adult life has been post-season less. Kinda crazy when you put it that way.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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August 2, 2022 9:48 am

To put it another way, that dunk was rookie Ronnie Price, age 22. He is now 39 and has been out of the league for 6 years.

markdog333
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August 3, 2022 9:49 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Random question, but was the tv the Sony KV-40XBR700? I bought and moved that beast a couple of times.

andy_sims
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August 2, 2022 9:05 am

When that happened, I think that I was as shocked by it as anything I’d seen in Sacramento basketball. There had been no suggestion up to that point that Price harbored such rage and contempt for Boozers and basketball rims. It was one of the few literally jaw-dropping moments I’ve ever had.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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August 2, 2022 9:16 am

That dunk is awesome. The elevation and size difference + the call. So good.

Also a great excuse to post Carlos “He Still Lives with His Mother” Boozer

nico.zand
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August 2, 2022 9:22 am

Honestly I didn’t remember the dunk per se, but that season (together with the playoffs of the previous one) was basically the first season in which I managed to see a lot of Kings games, because on a TV channel called Sportitalia they started broadcasting everyday the replica of a game of the previous night during the afternoon (Italy’s time) and extended highlights of all of the remaining: since the Kings were still relatively good, or at list not long removed from being good, I saw something like 10 full games (a couple of years later I started to stay awake/rise during the night to watch the games live), while in the years 2002-2005 I onky had highlights of NBA.com (and so basically 2005-2006 is when I truly started being involved). Due to this I remember quite fondly that season and most of the players, Ronny Price included. One of the memories that comes to my mind now is that of a game in Denver late in the season (the record was something like 25 W and 35 L, or something like that) in which the Kings trailed with 15ish point margin for most of the game and Bibby scored 35 points or something like that keeping them in that range almost singlehandedly…I was watching the game with my father (that apart from the amateur games I played as a teenager and watching Italy’s national team games had no basketball knowledge of any sort) saying something like “Yes okay he is good but the others suck…if for some reason they sell him (being an Italian soccer fan, the habit is to sell/buy players for money, not trade them, ndr) then they suck”…in hindsight, it turned out that he was right LOL (not that not trading him would have changed much, but still).

nico.zand
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August 2, 2022 9:28 am
Reply to  nico.zand

And by the way, now that I think more deeply about it, this means that in the 16.5 years I’ve watched games for all of the season the Kings made the playoffs a grand total of one time (and the game in the previous article about Martin represents exactly the 50% of the Kings playoffs games I’ve watched, the other being game 6 of Conference Finals of 2002 in a replica they made on Rai (Italy’s national television..the equivalent of BBC basically) when I was 12 years old, which is by the way the reason why I started being a fan in the first place).

aplumley
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August 2, 2022 10:36 am
Reply to  nico.zand

2005-2006 is when I truly started being involved

So it’s your fault!

andy_sims
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August 2, 2022 9:34 am
Reply to  nico.zand

Does Genoa have a locally-focused sports network called Genitalia?

DutchKingsFanInUK
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August 2, 2022 9:41 am

Such a great memory. I’m really liking this new series guys, keep it up! These types of articles make me feel better rather than worse, didn’t know that was even a possibility!

Marty
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August 2, 2022 9:45 am

You have to do that Rondo dunk, I was there, that shit was bananas.

andy_sims
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August 2, 2022 10:13 am
Reply to  Marty

Oh, good call. That was completely unexpected.

JackassCentral916
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August 2, 2022 10:45 am

I love these articles! Great idea.

Sacto_J
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August 2, 2022 2:08 pm

That was one of the nastiest dunks ever seen at Arco, if only from the pure unexpectedness of it.
Still one of my top 5 dunks in Kings history, hands down.

andy_sims
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August 2, 2022 3:05 pm
Reply to  Sacto_J

The sheer violence of it. And just completely out of nowhere.

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