Advertisement

When Kevin Huerter, beam enthusiast, learned Kings fans were special

When newcomer Huerter learned Kings fans were special originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Kevin Huerter arrived in Sacramento last July with little knowledge of California’s capital city after the Kings completed a trade to acquire the sharpshooter from the Atlanta Hawks.

At the time of the trade, Huerter tweeted it was his “official welcome to the NBA moment” as he switched jerseys from the Hawks, a team that advanced to the 2021 Eastern Conference finals, to the Kings, a franchise in its umpteenth rebuild attempt to try to snap its infamous playoff drought.

Huerter flew to Sacramento several days later and met with president of basketball operations Monte McNair and the Kings’ brass. It was then he learned about the first steps of the new culture in Sacramento.

So, when did he realize just how passionate the Kings’ fan base is?

“It was pretty early,” Huerter told JJ Redick and Tommy Alter on the “Old Man and the Three” podcast. “The biggest thing of why Sacramento is so crazy is really because there’s no other sports team there. They are not competing with anything.

“If there’s one thing everybody [in Sacramento] claims, it’s the Kings. There are billboards everywhere.”

The Kings’ hot start certainly helped. Sacramento lost its first four games of the season, but quickly turned things around with a seven-game winning streak in November to boost their record to 10-6.

It was then Huerter debuted the #BeamTeam hashtag on an Instagram post, a moniker that became a rallying cry for the 2022-23 Kings.

The fans took it from there.

“Sixteen long seasons of not winning, and then all of a sudden the one team you care about is really good, everybody comes out and they root for you,” Huerter said. “It was a special year. Hopefully that energy carries year after year. That’s really kind of it. I realized it pretty early in the season.

"Once we started winning and everyone realized like, ‘Wow, we actually have a chance to make the playoffs. Let’s really get behind them.' "

RELATED: Kings star prospect Vezenkov wins 2022-23 EuroLeague MVP

Huerter’s favorite memory from this memorable Kings season was warming up for Game 1 of their first-round NBA playoff series against the Warriors. He described the crowd noise while running onto the court 20 minutes before tip-off as "chilling."

Huerter, under contract through the 2025-26 NBA season, is a big part of the Kings’ plans moving forward. He easily won over the fans, but on the flip side, the fans quickly won over Huerter’s heart.