What's happened in sports and society during the Kings' NBA playoff drought?

ByWilliam E. Ricks ESPN logo
Thursday, March 30, 2023

Sacramento Kings fans, rejoice!

With a120-80win over thePortland Trail Blazers, Sacramento clinched a spot in the NBA playoffs.

It has been a while since Sacramento qualified for the postseason -- 2006, to be exact. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Kings' playoff berth snaps a 16-season postseason drought, the longest streak in NBA history. Before Monday, it was the longest active playoff dry spell in the four major American sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL).

Plenty has changed in sports and society during the Kings' playoff absence. The iPhone hadn't yet taken the world by storm, former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was on the verge of an NBA Finals performance for the ages, and two prominent social media platforms didn't exist.

Here's a look at some notable happenings in sports and society since the Kings last made the playoffs.

The birth of the iPhone

The last time the Kings made the playoffs, the world didn't know that the iPhone would become one of the most sought-after phones ever. Former Apple CEO and the late Steve Jobs introduced the smartphone in January 2007, calling the device a "revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone," according to company's website.

Dwyane Wade leads incredible NBA Finals comeback

Sacramento's last playoff appearance was short-lived, as the San Antonio Spurs eliminated them in the first round. Fast forward to the NBA Finals that year: Wade and the Heat were down 0-2 to the Dallas Mavericks. Nearing the brink of elimination, Wade carried his squad to its first NBA title.

Wade averaged 39.2 points per game over the next four contests, all wins. In a game-clinching Game 6, "Flash" dropped 36 points along with 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks in a 95-92 win to secure his first championship. His sensational series earned him Finals MVP honors. He became the fourth player to score 35-plus points in four straight Finals games. Michael Jordan (1993), Rick Barry (1967) and Elgin Baylor (1962) are the others.

"Wade is the best player ever," Shaquille O'Neal said of Wade after the game, according to NBA.com.

No Twitter, no Instagram

Twitter and Instagram have become huge platforms in the social media space, but they didn't exist back when the Kings last made the postseason. Twitter didn't launch until July 2006, originally called "Twttr," and Instagram didn't come onto the scene until 2010.

No. 8 Kobe Bryant

The Kings had plenty of battles with late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant over the years, but Bryant was rocking the No. 8 jersey when Sacramento last saw the postseason.

Bryant was in his last season donning No. 8 when the Kings made the 2006 playoffs, as he changed his number to 24 before the 2006-07 campaign. Bryant played 639 games in the No. 24 jersey, scoring 16,777 points and winning two NBA championships. He also added one regular-season MVP and two Finals MVPs during his No. 24 era.

Read more: Inside Kobe Bryant's two legendary careers

Young Kings

Current Kings players were all in their youth the last time Sacramento made the playoffs. The Kings' oldest player, Matthew Dellavedova, was 15 years old, and the team's youngest player, Keegan Murray, was just 5.

Stars De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk were both 8 years old.

Daniel Powter tops the year-end Billboard charts

It can be argued that the Kings have experienced many bad days during their postseason drought. Speaking of bad days, Canadian musician and songwriter Daniel Powter's hit song "Bad Day" was the No. 1 song on the year-end Billboard Hot 100 charts the last time Sacramento tasted the postseason. Other notable songs that held the No. 1 spot in 2006 are Rihanna's "S.O.S," D4L's "Laffy Taffy," Mariah Carey's "Don't Forget About Us" and Beyonce's "Check On It" featuring Slim Thug.

ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this story.

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