Provided is a timeline showing the history since the creation of the Rochester Royals and its transformation into the present day Sacramento Kings
What Happened To…The Rochester Royals?
Now that the National Basketball Association is preparing to crown its annual champion, it’s a good time to remember the Rochester team that won it all more than 60 years ago.
The Rochester Royals captured the 1951 NBA title by knocking off the New York Knicks in the finals after defeating their longtime nemesis, the Minneapolis Lakers, and the Fort Wayne Pistons in earlier rounds. Led by future Hall of Famers Bob Davies, Bobby Wanzer, Al Cervi, Red Holzman, Arnie Risen and owner-coach Les Harrison, the Royals were one of the league’s top teams during its nascent years.
Their Royal Highnesses
As afternoon turns into evening, the wind whistles through the old park, forcing the trees to sway to its demands. A foreboding chain link fence acts as a sentinel, while gray urban sprawl glares upon the surrounding patch of green.
You look for a statue, a plaque, an old picture, something to confirm this is indeed the place where it happened. Does one exist? You manage to glimpse an expanse of grass – a couple of ball fields and a community center. But it’s as if that fence is a figurative and literal closed door to a time long since faded to sepia.
There are no vestiges of the barn-like building that once stood here, where the energetic men once ran, leaped and celebrated. It ultimately met its end by the wrecking ball, a symbol of dust, rust and neglect. But 55 springs ago, the place was alive, with spectators jamming the wooden bleachers rising from both sides, the din of screams and shouts caroming off walls and eardrums alike.
Bobby Wanzer, a basketball Hall of Famer who starred at point guard for Seton Hall in the 1940s and led the Rochester Royals to their only National Basketball Association championship, died Jan. 23 at his home in Pittsford, N.Y., outside Rochester. He was 94.
Sacramento Kings – History 1
Final Score: The Late Great Rochester Royals
Final Score: Rochester Royals 104, St. Louis Hawks 99. That was the final score of the final game of the final season for the team known as the Rochester Royals in 1957. That was the end of the road for a team with a legendary track-record. Rochester was home to a pretty formidable team from 1945 – 1957. This was a team that won two championships and was victorious in about 70% of their games over their 12 year history.
From Rochester to Sacramento
The celebration is one for the ages. More than 15,000 fans show up to Cesar Chavez Park in Downtown Sacramento to rejoice. “1985-Forever” is being burned into a giant, makeshift big screen, acting as a backdrop to a temporary stage. The Kings were staying and a new arena would be in the works.
After hours of working the scene, I find myself at a private party across the way from the festivities. A hidden second floor lounge at the posh Citizen Hotel is the setting. I am well acquainted with the former-insurance-building-turned-boutique-inn, but this room must have been reserved for special occasions.
The lighting is dim and even with a sportscoat on, I feel underdressed. A smoking jacket would have been perfect for this scene. There are rows of matching books adorning the shelves of high quality dark wood cabinets. The bartenders are wearing bow ties and black vests.
Ranking the Best in History
Only three franchises—the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors—have been in the NBA longer than the Sacramento Kings franchise. The Warriors were originally in Philadelphia and moved to San Francisco in 1962. They moved to Oakland, Calif., and changed their name to Golden State for the 1971-72 season.
The Kings franchise joined the then-Basketball Association of America as the Rochester Royals, along with two other franchises that still exist, the Minneapolis Lakers (now in Los Angeles) and the Fort Wayne Pistons (now in Detroit) for the 1948-49 season.
Rochester Royals Jersey History
The Rochester Royals were a men’s basketball team that originated in one of the leading professional basketball teams in the country—the Rochester Pros. The Pros were the brainchild of one-man band Lester Harrison. Harrison served not only as coach and general manager for the team, but also as owner. In 1945, Harrison held a competition for a team name and decided on the Royals.
The Royals logo features a blue crest with a white outline and “Rochester” in white lettering. A white banner floats over the blue background, proudly displaying “Royals” in blue lettering.