DeMarcus Cousins on first night at new arena: ‘It was beautiful’

Thursday was a special night for the city and players.
By | 0 Comments | Oct 28, 2016

Thursday was a monumental night in Sacramento as the doors of the Golden 1 Center opened for the first time for regular season basketball. As was the case in the 1980s when the first two arenas opened, many people were decked out in tuxedos and the fans roared. The arena shined in the moment, showing off its unique design, elaborate light displays, food options and other amenities.

The building is first-class and a proper home for a franchise with a fan base that has been through so much.

The Sacramento Kings put up a good fight for the majority of the game, playing the San Antonio Spurs tough and making it a game in the fourth quarter. The Spurs, however, are the Spurs and they are really good. In particular, that guy Kawhi Leonard is really good. As a result, the Kings lost 102-94.

The loss won’t take away from the memories of those in attendance though. The special evening was acknowledged by Kings head coach Dave Joerger and his players, as well as former King Chris Webber, who was in attendance.

DeMarcus Cousins

“It was beautiful, man, as much as this city has been through as much as they fought, they were more than deserving of this night. I wish we could have sealed the deal with a win, but we’ve got 80 more so we can make it up later.”

On his pregame comments to the crowd: “I wanted to hurry up and get off the mic before I got emotional. Like I said, it’s more than deserving. I’ve been a part of it, I know what this city has been through, I know how much they fought. I know the ups and downs, I know we were this far from not being here so like I said, more than deserving.”

On if this is home for him: “Is this home for me? Absolutely. Absolutely.”

Dave Joerger

“That was a tremendous night for the community. Our guys really felt the love. All the work that everybody has put into this in keeping this franchise here and opening up this building is just beautiful. So really excited, it was a fantastic night. I wish we could have got the win.”

Rudy Gay 

“It was a big night for everybody; us playing in front of the fans. And for the fans, I mean this is a lot, this is a new era of basketball in Sacramento. It was good to be a part of it. Obviously, the fans drive us to a new level, this was a playoff atmosphere and it’s good to have that night in, night out.” 

Matt Barnes

“I think it’s great. Our focus is basketball, obviously, but I know how big this is for the city. They came out and supported us tonight and we really appreciate that and I think we put a great effort. We’re not looking for moral victories here, we think we’re a better team than that, but we played well tonight and if we play with that kind of intensity throughout the season we’re going to have a good season.”

Aaron Afflalo

“It was amazing man. It almost felt like a playoff atmosphere during the announcements and the [National] Anthem. These fans are incredible so we’ll definitely put a good product out there for them this year and it’ll be fun.”

Chris Webber (via Sean Cunningham)

“You know what’s crazy, it still feels like Arco [Arena]. It still feels like Arco because the people are the same.” 

“The fans should be proud, a lot of people have stepped up, the city, investors, everyone, but the fans should be proud because what do you build thinking the fans won’t come? Nothing. You could build this with your eyes closed, you know it’s going to be sold out, you know people are going to come to support. I hope the fans know this team was almost gone, everybody had left us for dead, but just like they did when we used to play games and have a fourth quarter run down by 15 and win, that’s what they did here.”

“I’m just really happy for the fans, man. This is a blessing, man, this is some cool stuff.” 

“The building can change, and it’s the greatest building in basketball, but it wouldn’t be that cool without these fans so that’s what I like about it, these crazy fans are still here and they don’t stop.”  

As far as the way the team has played in its first two games, it is pretty obvious how Joerger has made an impact. The players are actually rotating on defense and with Joerger’s goal to play this way the entire game, the Kings look a lot different than the teams we have seen over the last 10 years. This was highlighted by a comment from Barnes.

“I was listening to the guys on the bench that were here last year saying, ‘We would have gave up or this team, we would have lost by 30,’ type of things. So we’re slowly, but surely, trying to change the culture again,” Barnes said. “You can’t control whether your shots go in, but one of the things you can do is control how hard you play and that’s something that we preach every day.”

Cousins supported this by saying that the Kings would have lost a game like Thursday’s game by 25 to 30 points last season.

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