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May 23, 2013
On the scene at the Long Live the Kings rally

The Bee's Carla Meyer provides updates from the Long Live the Kings rally in downtown Sacramento on Thursday:

6:57 p.m.: Black canvas, part 2: Sacramento's David Garibaldi, the internationally known performance painter, seemed to use an unusual amount of purple in the portraits of Michael Jackson and John Lennon that he speed-painted on stage at the rally.

Garibaldi, a finalist last year on "America's Got Talent," also appeared to have painted purple designs on his white shirt for the occasion.

6:56 p.m.:The Kings' rally drew a crowd that appeared to be similar size to the more popular of the Friday night Concerts in the Park: eyeballing it, it looked to be upward of 5,000 people.

There were key differences, though. The number of people carrying beers were fewer, and the branding was, of course, more specific. Nearly all signs and stands were team-related, and representatives approached often to urge the purchase of season tickets, making it hard to have a non-Kings thought.

But the branding was participatory as well. Fans lined up to write personal messages on a black canvas reading "1985 -- Forever." The banner will be hung at Sleep Train Arena.

Darryl Saeturn, 27, said he wrote on the banner and came to the rally because "it is the only sport in Sacramento." Saeturn credited Mayor Kevin Johnson with keeping the team in town. "Without K.J., we wouldn't be in this position," he said.

Saeturn's message on the banner: "Kings forever."

5:58 p.m.: An informal survey of Kings jerseys worn by fans at the rally revealed Tyreke Evans' No. 13 as the most popular choice.

Some others made bold choices ("Artest") and others chose to honor Kings legend Chris Webber, scheduled to appear later at the rally.

"He is my ultimate sports guy," said Brad Bick of Roseville, proudly sporting a Webber jersey.

Bick was fighting a cold, but he came out for Webber, bringing along his 5-year-old son, Preston Bick. The pair have attended all the keep-the-Kings rallies, Bick said, including a lightly attended one back when the Kings flirted with Anaheim.

He liked today's event better.

5:36 p.m.: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson joined prospective new majority team owner Vivek Ranadive for a photo in the middle of Cesar Chavez Plaza.

Fans ringed the perimeter of the cordoned-off area, erupting into a chant of "Thank you, KJ!" A similar attempt to honor Ranadive with a cheer died out just after it started, perhaps because fans were unsure about how to pronounce his name.

5:06 p.m.: Kings fans, most dressed in purple, lined up by the hundreds this afternoon on J Street waiting to enter the "Long Live the Kings" rally at Cesar Chavez Plaza at 10th and J streets.

"You would think they would let us in 15 minutes early," Angelica Heaphy said outside the park entrance just before the park officially opened to fans, at 5 p.m. Thursday.

But Heaphy, of Carmichael, was not begrudging her favorite team much these days.

"It's so exciting, with the new ownership," Heaphy said.

She came with her son, Alex, and her small dog, Rusty, his white fluff offset by a purple leash to honor the Kings.

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