SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Sacramento Kings faced off against the Golden State Warriors for the first of two final preseason games Tuesday, nine months after fans left the Golden 1 Center for the last time.
On March 11, Kings fans were asked to exit the arena after a referee set to work the game was exposed to the coronavirus. The Kings were set to play the New Orleans Pelicans in the last NBA game before the league suspended the season.
There were less than 100 coronavirus cases in Sacramento County that day. Nine months, that number has grown to more than 50,000.
“It’s crazy. It’s saddening. I’m reluctant to say depressing,” Kings fan Chris Henderson said.
CBS13 showed Henderson video from the March 11 Kings game. He said it is a blast from the past.
“It’s weird. It kind of makes you feel like oh yeah back in the day. When it was this year,” Henderson said.
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Henderson says it’s shocking to see the mask-less crowd leaving the arena.
“We wish we could be there. That’s a big part of the whole experience is to be able to see the team. We love the action, we miss it,” he said.
Nearby restaurants miss the action too.
“We miss the traffic, the people, the crowds it’s night and day,” Thomas Quach with Koja Kitchen said.
Quach says he’s just barely hanging on to his restaurant in DOCO.
“This shutdown I don’t know how many more businesses can survive,” Quach said.
The Kings play their season home opener the day after Christmas, where for the first time ever the team will play a regular-season home game without fans.
Kings fans can still get inside the arena for a price. They can upload a photo of themselves that the Kings will turn into a cardboard cutout that sits in the stands. A portion of the proceeds from that will benefit local nonprofits.
The Kings beat the Warriors 114-113 Tuesday night thanks to a three-point buzzer-beater from Kyle Guy.
— NBA (@NBA) December 16, 2020