Downtown Businesses Grateful For Start Of Sacramento Kings Season

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — In their season opener, Sacramento Kings players stood for the national anthem with their arms locked together.

Before the anthem, Kings newcomer and NBA veteran Vince Carter delivered a message about social injustice.

"It's important for us to stand together," Carter said. "Support each other. It doesn't matter who you support. Support each other. It's all about togetherness."

The NBA said the Kings handling of the anthem did not violate league rules.

This second season of Kings basketball at the Golden 1 Center has lots of change on and off the court. The new Kings hotel is open and sold out for the first game.

Reggie and Natalie Vezia brought their young children from Rancho Murietta for the night. They are staying in another hotel close by.

"…Bring your kids downtown, go to a restaurant, go get a drink with them and just see the atmosphere," Reggie Vezia said.

"We're still kind of young, so it's still fun to have a night out and go to a game," Natalie Vezia said.

For businesses catering to families like to Vezias, the offseason has been hard. The Kings are a lifeline to crowds.

"We definitely had to do some temporary layoffs through the offseason, we actually had to close hours of operation," Malt and Mash and El Rey owner Trevor Shults said. "So we were only open for event-based business."

The city of Sacramento touts robust growth in the downtown area since construction of the Golden 1 Center started, including a 32 percent increase in leasing volume, a $183 million increase in property values and 26 property sales.

The work is not done.

On the home opener of their second season in downtown, construction sites still surround the Golden 1 Center.

Finally, for businesses who chose to open around the arena, NBA fans are back.

More from Steve Large
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