With the National Basketball Association playoffs in full swing, we wanted to go back to the Kansas City Kings who played in Kansas City from 1972-1985. During the first three seasons they were known as the Kansas City-Omaha Kings after their move from Cincinnati.
The Kings had their most successful season in 1981. Although they had finished the regular season with a losing record (40-42), they stunned the Portland Trailblazers (2 games to 1) and the Phoenix Suns (4 games to 3) before falling to the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference final (4 games to 1). Oddly enough, the Houston Rockets had also finished the regular season at 40-42. It was a bizarre scenario that had two of the lowest seeded teams to meet in the conference final.
The Kings found success on the court when they hired Cotton Fitzsimmons in 1978. Fitzsimmons led the Kings to three playoff appearances including the Midwest Division title and was named NBA Coach of the Year in the same season.
The Kings played in Kemper Arena during most of their stay in Kansas City but struggled to fill up the arena. According to Wikipedia, they drew an average attendance of 10,789 fans to the arena in the 1978-79 season which was the only time their attendance reached five figures.
Some of the most notable players were: “Tiny” Nate Archibald, Otis Birdsong, Phil Ford, Reggie Theus and Mike Woodson.
Due to their struggling attendance, the Kings moved to Sacramento for the 1985-86 season.