SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — As the start of the 2022-23 NBA season nears, the Sacramento Kings are the team with the longest playoff drought in major professional sports in North America.
After hiring Mike Brown as head coach and making multiple acquisitions in the free agent and trade market, the Kings are looking to make the playoffs for the first time in 16 seasons.
The Kings own the longest playoff drought of any professional sports team after the MLB’s Seattle Mariners clinched a postseason berth on Sept. 30. The Mariners previously had the longest drought at 20 seasons.
When the Kings last made the playoffs in the 2005-06 season, Sacramento was eliminated in the first round 4-2 by the San Antonio Spurs. That loss ended an eight-season streak of playoff appearances.
Since the last Kings’ playoff game on May 4, 2006, here is how American culture has shifted.
14 iPhone versions have been launched
A year after the Kings’ last playoff game, the first-generation iPhone officially hit the U.S. market on June 29, 2007.
The first iPhone was announced in January 2007 as a “revolutionary mobile” device and a “breakthrough internet communicator,” according to Verizon.
The iPhone 14 is Apple’s current model of its smartphone. A dozen iPhone generations have been discontinued, and the Kings have yet to make the playoffs.
Twitter, Instagram and TikTok did not exist
The landscape of social media was much different in the mid-2000s compared to how we know it now.
Social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram were not around, as those services didn’t become popular until the 2010s. Popular video platform app TikTok also wasn’t around as it was internationally released in 2017.
Vine, a platform where users posted six-second videos, came and went during the Kings’ playoff drought.
Facebook was only available to college students and MySpace was still at its peak.
Blockbuster stores were still around
When the Kings last made the playoffs, movie-watching consisted of physically going to a store and picking out a DVD or VHS tape, then going back home and watching it on a player.
According to a YouTube video from V1 Analytics, there were over 5,490 Blockbuster locations across the country in May 2006.
As the rise of Netflix and other streaming companies happened, Blockbusters closed down. The world’s last remaining Blockbuster store is in Bend, Oregon, which has been the only location since 2018.
Culture of sports at the time
The world of sports was much different when the Kings last played in the postseason.
The late Kobe Bryant still wore No. 8 for the Lakers as he officially changed his jersey number for the 2006-07 season. San Francisco Giants legend Barry Bonds was still playing, as his last official year in the majors was in 2007.
As for the Giants franchise, players such as Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, and Brandon Crawford did not yet make their MLB debut, as those players became catalysts of World Series championship teams in the early 2010s.
Seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady, who is considered to be the greatest quarterback of all time, only had three championship rings at the time of the Kings’ last playoff run.