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The Sydney Kings are an Australian men's professional basketball team competing in the National Basketball League (NBL). The team is based in Sydney, New South Wales. The Kings were formed from a merger between the West Sydney Westars and the Sydney Supersonics in October 1987. They were the first team to win three consecutive championships in the NBL and currently sit fifth behind the Adelaide 36ers and New Zealand Breakers (four each), Melbourne United (five) and Perth Wildcats (ten) for championships won. The Kings play their home games at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney Olympic Park, New South Wales.


History





1988–2002: First 15 years


The Kings were formed from a merger between the West Sydney Westars and the Sydney Supersonics in October 1987. The team adopted the purple-and-gold colours traditionally linked with the most winning team in the NBA during the 1980s, the Los Angeles Lakers. Before the merger, no Sydney-based teams had ever made the final four in NBL competition. That changed in 1989, when the Kings finished fifth with a 15–9 record and advanced to the semi-finals with a 2–1 win over the Melbourne Tigers. After splitting their first two games in the semi-finals, the Kings were humiliated by the Canberra Cannons 142–82 in the series-deciding third game. Sydney made the playoffs in 1990, losing in the first round to the Brisbane Bullets. In 1992, led by imports Dwayne McClain (who was named to the All-NBL First Team) and Ken McClary (ranked 5th in the league in rebounds), the Kings finished second on the ladder. This time they advanced to the semi-finals and were beaten by the Tigers, who would eventually lose to the South-East Melbourne Magic in the championship series. Over the next few years the Kings, despite the rich pockets of private owner Mike Wrublewski, earned a reputation for being chronic under-achievers. The team featured high-profile players like Leon Trimmingham, Mario Donaldson, Dean Uthoff and Phil Smyth during the mid-90s but they failed to make the playoffs in 1993 or 1995, and were eliminated in the first round in 1994 and 1996. The team soon received the nickname of 'The Violet Crumbles', a popular chocolate sold in purple wrapper; the joke being that the team was wrapped in purple and shattered under pressure. 'The Cardiac Kids' was another tag, for the team's frequency in getting involved in close, thrilling games. After their 1996 elimination, the Kings would not make the NBL playoffs again until 2001, when they made it to the first round before being eliminated by the Townsville Crocodiles. Australian Olympic team guard Shane Heal was recruited to lead the team, and he finished second in the league in scoring average, behind Olympic teammate Andrew Gaze. Heal finished third in scoring average in the 2001–02 season, but the Kings again failed to make the playoffs.


2003–2008: Championships era


For the 2002–03 season, Heal was joined by talented imports Chris Williams and Kavossy Franklin. The team also welcomed the NBL's all-time leader in coaching victories, Brian Goorjian. The Kings finished on top of the ladder with a 22–8 record, and swept the Perth Wildcats 2–0 in the grand final series to claim their first-ever championship. With Goorjian able to implement his defensive tactics which were so successful with the Spectres, Magic and Titans in Melbourne, there seemed to be no stopping the Kings, who were able to recruit quality imports like 2002–03 league MVP Chris Williams. In addition, many Victorian groomed players who had previously played for Goorijan such as Jason Smith and Bradley Sheridan followed him north to Sydney. Heal retired after the 2002–03 season, and C. J. Bruton was recruited to take his place, Jason Smith was signed after returning to the NBL after playing in Europe but unfortunately was injured 13 games into the season and was replaced by import Chris Carrawell. The Kings started the 2003–04 season with 10 successive wins, and would eventually win their second championship after their best-of-five grand final series with crosstown rivals West Sydney Razorbacks went down to the deciding fifth game. Kings player Matt Nielsen would win the regular season and finals MVP in 2003–04 before leaving to play overseas. The Kings again performed strongly in the 2004–05 season despite a disastrous early game against Townsville which saw C. J. Bruton out for weeks with an elbow injury, and a season ending torn ACL for rookie of the year candidate Luke Kendall. The Kings managed without their starting backcourt until Bruton came back and they signed import big man Rolan Roberts. Arguably stronger than before the Kings finished on top of the ladder and crushed the Wollongong Hawks in three straight games to become the first team in Australian league history to win three consecutive championships. Jason Smith was named the NBL Finals Most Valuable Player. In the 2005–06 season, the Kings again finished atop the ladder and made it to the grand final. Import centre Rolan Roberts suffered a torn pectoral muscle imitating a Vince Carter dunk during the All Star dunk competition and was replaced by Sedric Webber. In the finals they were swept 3–0 by the Chris Anstey led Melbourne Tigers. The club was then purchased in 2006 for $2 million by the chairman of fuel technology company Firepower International, Tim Johnston. Johnston later sold a part share in 2007 to 31-year-old Dorry Kordahi, CEO and owner of DKM.


2008–2010: Club demise


On 24 March 2008, coach Brian Goorjian quit the club after a mutual agreement, and on 12 June 2008, the NBL terminated the Sydney team's licence as Firepower collapsed and the Kings were unable to pay player salaries.


2010–2012: Kings relaunch


Under a revised management structure and ownership, the Sydney Kings relaunched for the 2010–11 NBL season, returning to the league after a two-year absence. However, despite big-named additions such as Julian Khazzouh, Ben Madgen and Luke Martin, the Kings in their first season back finished in last place on the ladder with an 8–20 record. Due to the 2011 NBA Lockout, Australia's highest profile basketballer, former Milwaukee Bucks centre Andrew Bogut, was looking to play in the NBL during the 2011–12 season. He was linked with the Adelaide 36ers, the Gold Coast Blaze and the Kings, whom Bogut had supported when growing up in Australia. Sydney was favored to secure his services and Bogut ultimately chose to make his NBL debut with the Kings. However, the insurance to cover his remaining US$39 million contract with the Bucks couldn't be resolved, leaving the Kings and the NBL without the services of Australia's highest profile player. It was expected that Bogut's signing would see an increase in Kings membership and league attendances. Despite not being able to play, Bogut later expressed interest in joining the Kings' coaching staff during the lockout to help the club. This ultimately did not happen either. The Kings fared better in 2011–12, finishing the season in seventh spot with an 11–17 record.


2012–2018: Continued struggles


The Kings continued to struggle over the ensuing six years, qualifying just once (2012–13) for the playoffs in their eight seasons since returning to the league, and finishing with a losing record in the regular season in each of their eight seasons. In November 2015, the club played their 800th game in franchise history. Australian basketball icon Andrew Gaze was named head coach of the team on a three-year deal starting with the 2016–17 season. The team recruited big names Kevin Lisch, Brad Newley and Aleks Marić plus imports Greg Whittington and Michael Bryson for the 2016–17 season; however after starting the season with five wins in their opening six games, the Kings won just eight of their remaining 22 games and missed the playoffs. Before the 2017–18 season, the team recruited imports Perry Ellis and Travis Leslie plus small forward Todd Blanchfield; however fared no better, losing 16 of their first 21 games as Lisch suffered a calf injury that would force him to miss most of the regular season. Late in the campaign the club brought in 2016–17 NBL MVP Jerome Randle and big man Jeremy Tyler. Randle led the team to six wins in their final seven games and was named to the All-NBL Second Team, but the Kings missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.


2018–present: Return to the finals


The 2018–19 season was the Kings' 30th anniversary season in the NBL. On 24 April 2018, the Kings announced the signing of Australian basketball icon, Andrew Bogut. In that same offseason, the Kings became the first beneficiary of the NBL's new Next Stars program, which offers a professional option immediately out of secondary school to Americans (who are currently barred from the NBA draft until one year after graduation), as well as Australians and New Zealanders considering U.S. college basketball. Under the program, the team signed American Brian Bowen. After a 18–10 record across the 2018–19 season, the club recorded their first finals appearance since 2013 however lost 2–0 to Melbourne United in the semi-finals. After Andrew Gaze left the club under a mutual agreement, Will Weaver was signed as the new head coach. In Weaver's first season with the club, the Kings were minor champions for the first time in over a decade and made it through to the grand final series, however after three games the Kings indicated they did not wish to proceed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lost the series to the Perth Wildcats.


Home arena


The Sydney Kings' first home venue was the State Sports Centre located at Homebush. After playing at the 5,006-seat venue in 1988 and 1989, the Kings then moved into Sydney's largest indoor venue, the 12,500-seat Sydney Entertainment Centre in 1990. The SEC, known for Kings games as "The Kingdome", would be the Kings' home until the team moved back to Homebush in 1999 and into the new, 18,200-capacity Sydney Super Dome which had been built as the main basketball and gymnastics venue for the 2000 Summer Olympics held in Sydney. Despite attracting an NBL record 17,143 crowd for their opening-round game in the 1999/2000 season against the Canberra Cannons (played as a double header with the West Sydney Razorbacks playing the Brisbane Bullets), the Kings' time at the Super Dome only lasted three years. After the club went into voluntary administration following the 2001/2002 season and was then purchased by a new investment group, the franchise decided to move back to the Entertainment Centre in 2002, citing falling attendances and the high cost of playing their games at the NBA-size venue. It was also speculated at the time that the core of the Kings fan base came from the eastern and northern suburbs of Sydney and that fans were not enthused about having to travel to Homebush for games. The Kings moved back to the Entertainment Centre in 2002, where they remained until 2015, though they were forced to move one game in the 2012–13 NBL season to the State Sports Centre due to a pre-booked event taking priority at the Entertainment Centre. At its closing in 2015, the SEC had a basketball capacity of 10,517 (with curtains blocking off seats behind the basket to reduce capacity) giving the Kings the second-largest capacity venue in the NBL behind the 14,846-seat Perth Arena, though as the SEC was opened in 1983 it also gave the Kings the league's oldest venue. The Kings moved back to Homebush midway through the 2015–16 season due to the SEC being demolished to make way for an apartment complex and convention centre. On 13 March 2016, the Kings came under new management and were subsequently moved back to the Superdome (Qudos Bank Arena) for the 2016–17 season. During the regular season, the Kings curtained off the upper deck of the Qudos Bank Arena (depending on ticket demand), leaving capacity at approximately 9,000. In the final home game of the 2016–17 season, the Kings drew 11,005 fans to their game against Melbourne United – at the time, the second largest home crowd in franchise history. In a game against the Illawarra Hawks on 17 November 2019, the Kings set the all-time NBL single game attendance record with 17,514 at Qudos Bank Arena. In the 2019/2020 season alone, six of the top ten home crowds in franchise history attended games at Qudos Bank Arena. The Kings averaged 10,012 fans per home game in the 2019/2020 NBL season – the largest per-game average at home in franchise history and the first Sydney Kings team to ever average more than 10,000 fans per home game. The total home fan attendance for the season was 140,168 – the largest in franchise history and nearly 20,000 fans more than the previous record set in 1994. * State Sports Centre (1988–1989, 2012, 2016) * Sydney Entertainment Centre (1990–1999, 2002–2008, 2010–2015) * Sydney Super Dome (1999–2002, 2016–present)


Honour and awards


;NBL champions * 2003, 2004, 2005 ;NBL Most Valuable Player * Chris Williams – 2003 * Matthew Nielsen – 2004 * Andrew Bogut – 2019 ;NBL Grand Final MVP * Chris Williams – 2003 * Matthew Nielsen – 2004 * Jason Smith – 2005 ;All-NBL First Team * Dwayne McClain – 1992 * Leon Trimmingham – 1994 * Shane Heal – 2003 * Chris Williams – 2003 * Matthew Nielsen – 2004 * Jason Smith – 2005 * C. J. Bruton – 2006 * Mark Worthington – 2008 * Julian Khazzouh – 2011, 2012 * Ben Madgen – 2013 * Andrew Ogilvy – 2014 * Josh Childress – 2015 * Andrew Bogut – 2019 * Jae'Sean Tate – 2020 ;All-NBL Second Team * Shane Heal – 2001 * Matthew Nielsen – 2001, 2003 * Ebi Ere – 2004 * Jason Smith – 2006 * Sam Young – 2014 * Kevin Lisch – 2017 * Brad Newley – 2017 * Jerome Randle – 2018, 2019 * Casper Ware – 2020 * Andrew Bogut – 2020 ;All-NBL Third Team * Shane Heal – 2002 * Kavossy Franklin – 2003 * C. J. Bruton – 2004 * Dontaye Draper – 2008 * Ian Crosswhite – 2013 ;NBL Coach of the Year * Brian Goorjian – 2008 ;NBL Rookie of the Year * Matthew Nielsen – 1997 * Derek Moore – 2000 * Travis Lane – 2002 * Gary Boodnikoff – 2003 * Mark Worthington – 2006 * Ben Madgen – 2011 * Anatoly Bose – 2012 * Angus Brandt – 2015 * Isaac Humphries – 2018 ;NBL Best Defensive Player * Isaac Burton – 1996 * Andrew Bogut – 2019 ;NBL Best Sixth Man * Dontaye Draper – 2008 ;NBL Most Improved Player * Ben Madgen – 2013

Season by season




Current roster





Notable players


* David Barlow * Drew Barry * Jerome Beasley * Tony Bennett * Steve Blake * Todd Blanchfield * Andrew Bogut * Bruce Bolden * / Anatoly Bose * Brian Bowen * Angus Brandt * Kevin Brooks * / C. J. Bruton * Evers Burns * Jason Cadee * Steve Carfino * Rhys Carter * Josh Childress * Randolph Childress * Brad Dalton * Mark Dalton * Ian Davies * Mark Dickel * Dontaye Draper * Acie Earl * / Ebi Ere * Trey Gilder * Al Harrington * James Harvey * Shane Heal * Russell Hinder * Isaac Humphries * Stephen Jackson * Damion James * Luke Kendall * Damian Keogh * Julian Khazzouh * Daniel Kickert * Michael Kingma * Travis Leslie * / Kevin Lisch * Marcos Louzada Silva * Ben Madgen * / Aleks Marić * Steven Marković * Luke Martin * Dwayne McClain * Brad Newley * Matthew Nielsen * / Matt Nover * / Andrew Ogilvy * Josh Powell * / Dion Prewster * / Jerome Randle * / E. J. Rowland * Damien Ryan * Glen Saville * Bradley Sheridan * Amritpal Singh * Jason Smith * Phil Smyth * Jae'Sean Tate * Aaron Trahair * Jeremy Tyler * Casper Ware * David Wear * Jarrad Weeks * Brett Wheeler * Chris Williams * Tom Wilson * Mark Worthington * / Sam Young


25th Anniversary Team


On 10 October 2013, the Sydney Kings announced their best team from the first 25 years of the club at their 2013–14 Season Launch at the Australian Museum. Three-time championship winner with the Kings Brian Goorjian was named head coach of the 25th Anniversary Team, while Jason Smith was bestowed the honour as captain of the team.


Depth chart


Coaches * Head Coach: / Brian Goorjian


Wall of Legends


The club honours players, coaches and administrators who have made a significant contribution to the club during its existence in the competition. These are signified with banners that are hung at the stage end of Qudos Bank Arena. Currently the Wall of Legends stands at 13, with the most recent inductions being made at halftime of the Kings vs Melbourne United match on 28 January 2018. * Shane Heal, player * Steve Carfino, player * Tim Morrissey, player * Jason Smith, player * Dean Uthoff, player * Mike Wrublewski, founder * Bob Turner, coach * Damian Keogh, player * Mark Dalton, player * Matthew Nielsen, player * Brian Goorjian, coach * C. J. Bruton, player * Lorraine Landon, administrator

Preseason games against NBA teams




References





External links


* {{Navboxes|list= {{Sydney Kings 2002–03 NBL champions {{Sydney Kings 2003–04 NBL champions {{Sydney Kings 2004–05 NBL champions Category:National Basketball League (Australia) teams Category:Sports teams in Sydney Category:Basketball teams established in 1988 Category:Basketball teams in New South Wales Category:1988 establishments in Australia