After an altogether crazy night at Sleep Train Arena - there is no sleep after this particular opener - here are a few final thoughts, observations, musings:
When NBA Commissioner David Stern made his grand entrance, literally walking down the purple carpet outside the security desk, some of the fans chanted his name. One longtime fan, who was holding photos of Kings players and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson shouted, "Thank you, Commissioner. You're our hero!" I approached her a few minutes later to hear more of her thoughts, and was given an earful. Joyce Dovelli, 55, a licensed family therapist, swears the Kings uncertain future contributed to domestic discord. "A lot of people who came in were stressed out about the Kings leaving," she said. When I asked, 'Are you kidding?' she grinned, then replied, "Actually, no."
It was appropriate that Jason Thompson, the longest tenure King, scored the deciding basket - a putback off a DeMarcus Cousins miss.
Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive and minority owner Mark Mastrov were among the many VIPs who lingered long after the game ended, chatting in the hallways, soaking up the moment with their friends and families.
The tribute to Stern between the first and second periods featured brief comments by Johnson and Ranadive, and was a nice touch. But we should have heard from Stern, too. In other words, the presenting Stern with the key to the city was great, but he should have been handed the microphone.
Because of there was much going on within the arena preceding the game, I missed the cricket demonstration with Ranadive and Shaq. Bummer.
Finally, pass-first point guard Greivis Vasquez is a delight; Isaiah Thomas is probably a much-better player than the new front office anticipated; DeMarcus Cousins is going to have an excellent season; rookie Ben McLemore is going to improve the Kings' dreadful off-ball movement when he gains some experience; and in an organization with an abundance of dynamic, diverse personalities, rookie head coach Michael Malone is an interesting combination of intensity, intelligence and humor.