Sacramento Kings Honor Kids Who Fought to Save Team with Lemonade Stand

SACRAMENTO -- "One of us had the idea of giving all the money to the Kings," said a 9-year-old Jack O’Brien back in 2011.

At the time, he was a kid with some close friends, a lemonade stand and a dream.

"That was a long time ago. A long time ago," laughed Gil Vechter, one of those close friends.

Oh what a difference five years can make. Back then, the smart money was on the Sacramento Kings not being in Sacramento anymore -- leaving town and heading up to Seattle.

But if that was the smart money, Gil and Jack were all about the heart money.

Along with their brothers Wyatt O’Brien and Ron Vechter, the kids started selling lemonade with the idea that all the proceeds would go to keeping the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento.

"Kids for Kings!" they’d shout at passing cars, hawking, one cup at a time, their solution to what was a very dark period for any Kings fan.

"Everyone was just yelling 'get your lemonade, get your lemonade.' It was a good time," Gil Vechter recalled.

The cash would eventually be returned to the boys, but their faith and hard work would come back to them in lots of ways too.

Not only did the Kings stay, and not only did they move into a brand new downtown arena, but the finishing touch was put on that arena Monday night.

In a prominent place right out front, stands a little lemon tree, with a plaque commemorating the boys, their lemonade stand and their faith.

"It started off as nothing, and then it grew to become this big deal. And now it's staying here in Sacramento where home is. And I think that’s really cool," Ron Vechter said.

To a chorus of “whoas,” the tribute to the boys and their lemonade stand was revealed Monday for the first time.

You can’t beat the recipe: a little cup of faith, sweetened with big ideas only little kids can have, and immortalized now in the history of this Sacramento franchise.