Light the beam! Vivek tells the story behind the Kings’ purple spectacle originally featured on NBC Sports Bayarea
Three new words are echoing throughout the city of Sacramento this fall:
Light. O. Desmi.
The Kings victory beam, powered by four purple lasers that sit atop the Golden 1 Center’s grand entrance and light up the Sacramento skyline after each win, was unveiled this season and took its own life as Kings fans rally behind the purple light shooting high in the sky.
“I like the idea of this just going into space,” Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé said in an interview with NBC Sports California on Thursday. “It goes further than the human eye can see. As a tech guy, having four lasers beaming into space is kind of cool.
“I want the aliens to see it,” Ranadivé joked. “I want it to go far enough for everyone to see.”
The Kings victory beam was first introduced to the city of Sacramento on Sept. 16 — “916 Day” — and lit up the sky for the first time on Oct. 29 following the team’s first win of the 2022-23 NBA season, a 119- 113 over the Miami Heat at home.
His laser beams will be pointing at the stars after every Kings win this season and beyond. Home or away, consolations will be greeted with a hint of Kings purple.
The victory laser beam is the brainchild of Kings president of business operations John Rinehart and was inspired by the Los Angeles Angels’ “Big A” sign in the Angel Stadium parking lot in Anaheim. After each Angels victory, the halo atop the “Big A” lights up to let bystanders know their favorite baseball team was victorious that night.
Rinehart brought the concept back to Northern California, 400 miles up Interstate 5. But for Ranadivé, the sight — and, more specifically, a purple sight — for Kings fans to share and rally behind has always been in the plans.
Ranadivé purchased the Kings franchise in May 2013. Seventeen months later, construction officially began on downtown Sacramento and the Golden 1 Center held its grand opening prior to the 2016-17 NBA season.
As plans for the world-class arena were drawn up, Ranadivé reached out to David Kelley, a mutual friend of Steve Jobs and the CEO of design and consulting firm IDEO. Kelley planted a new anecdote in Ranadivé’s mind that turned into his new mission.
“When I went to see David Kelley, he said, ‘Look, you’ve got to figure out what your purple lights are,'” Ranadivé told NBC Sports California. “I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And he said, “Well, if you ever go to Virgin [Airlines], you get on the plane and you sit and you see these purple lights. You know right away that this is going to be unlike any other experience you’ve ever had on any other airline. It will be unique. it’s going to be special and you’re looking forward to it.” “
Ranadivé returned and understood what the attraction of the Kings’ “purple lights” would be: The unique design of the Golden 1 Center, a basketball cathedral equally beautiful inside and out.
As Sacramento kicked off its seventh season at the Golden 1 Center on Oct. 19, Ranadive and company found their new “purple lights.” Literally. In the form of 1,000 watts of RGB laser power, the world’s brightest full-color laser equipment. And the only one of its kind in the NBA.
“Hey, I’ll do better than purple lights,” Ranadive recalled Rinehart saying. “I’m going to do this laser.
“We were playing with different ideas. Are we lighting up the Capitol building? Are we lighting the bridge? What are we doing? But we really wanted it to come from our building. Well, here it is. Now we have the purple lights in the form of a beam that is shot out into space.”
As expected, Kings fans immediately fell in love with the victory post. So did the players.
On Tuesday night, when Sacramento scored its second-most points in a single game since the franchise moved from Kansas City and easily defeated the Brooklyn Nets 153-121, the Kings improved to 7-6 on the season. The NBA world took notice. And the Kings’ victory beam took center stage.
NBA Twitter, which has largely not been kind to the Kings (or anyone, really) regarding the franchise’s recent struggles, has almost unanimously fallen in love with the Kings’ new purple lasers lighting up the Sacramento night sky.
“I think we might emerge second to everybody [favorite] team in a way because we’ve had it for so long [playoff] drought,” Ranadivé said. “The number of people who have called me and said, ‘I’m really glad you’re having some success. And this bundle is really wonderful and symbolic.”
“It’s always been my vision to create a spectacle. That’s what we did. That’s the fireplace — we light the fire and everybody can just gather around it.
“It’s like a huge fire going into space.”
Kevin Huerter, acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks in July, has already made a huge impact on the franchise. Mainly with his floodlight 3-point shooting, but Huerter’s social media savvy started another trend among Kings fans.
“Still OMW,” Huerter wrote in a recent Instagram post. “#BeamTeam.”
The basketball world cheered and watched documentaries about the “Dream Team” and the “Redeem Team.” But now she has her “Team Beam” — a young, fast, explosive and exciting team that has the entire city of Sacramento behind it.
The “Beam Team” moniker, by the way, is Ranadivé-approved.
“I think it’s great,” Ranadivé told NBC Sports California of the team’s new tagline. “Anything that brings people together. Kevin, he’s been amazing for the team. I got to travel with the team — if you just see the chemistry that they have, you can see that something is brewing there. Kevin is young and already loved by everyone.
“Well, I think calling it ‘Team Beam’ is kind of cool.”
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Sixteen long seasons have passed since the Kings last reached the NBA postseason. Eight wins in the Kings’ first 16 games is no guarantee of a playoff appearance.
The path, however, is easy to see. One lit by a team with a dynamic young core, a fun personality, a coach with championship experience and, of course, four purple lasers above the Golden 1 Center.