Sydney Kings

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Sydney Kings
Sydney Kings logo
League NBL
Founded 14 October 1987; 30 years ago (14 October 1987)
History Sydney Kings
1988–2008; 2010–present
Arena Qudos Bank Arena
Capacity 18,200
Location Sydney Olympic Park, New South Wales
Team colours Purple, gold, white, black
General manager Jeff Van Groningen
Head coach Andrew Gaze
Team captain Kevin Lisch
Ownership AEG Ogden
Championships 3 (2003, 2004, 2005)
Website Sydney Kings

The Sydney Kings are an Australian professional men's 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 (eight) for championships won. The Kings play their home games at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney Olympic Park, New South Wales.


1988–2002: First 15 years[edit]

The Kings were formed from a merger between the West Sydney Westars and the Sydney Supersonics in October 1987.[1] 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. 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[edit]

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 purchased the team outright and sold a part share in 2007 to 31-year-old Dorry Kordahi, CEO and owner of DKM.

2008–2010: Club demise[edit]

On 24 March 2008, coach Brian Goorjian quit the club after a mutual agreement,[2] 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.[3]

2010–2012: Kings relaunch[edit]

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.[4] 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.[5] Despite not being able to play, Bogut later expressed interest in joining the Kings' coaching staff during the lockout to help the club.[6] 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[edit]

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.[7] 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. The 2018–19 season will be the Kings' 30th anniversary season in the NBL. On 24 April 2018, the Kings announced the signing of Australian basketball icon, Andrew Bogut.

Home arena[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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.[8] In the final home game of the 2016–17 season, the Kings drew 11,005 fans to their game against Melbourne United – the second largest home crowd in franchise history.

Honour roll[edit]

Award Winners
NBL Championships: 3 (2003, 2004, 2005)
NBL Finals appearances: 13 (1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2013)
NBL Grand Final appearances: 5 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008)
NBL Most Valuable Players: Chris Williams (2003), Matthew Nielsen (2004)
NBL Grand Final MVPs: 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)
NBL Coach of the Year: Brian Goorjian (2008)
NBL Rookie of the Year: Matt 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)
NBL Best Sixth Man: Dontaye Draper (2008)
NBL Most Improved Player: Ben Madgen (2013)

Source: Honour Roll

Wall of Legends[edit]

Wall of Legends banners, hung in the rafters of Qudos Bank Arena as of January 13, 2018

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 January 28, 2018.

Current roster[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.

Sydney Kings roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Nat. Name Ht. Wt.
G 1 Australia Adnam, Kyle 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in) 83 kg (183 lb)
G 3 Australia Wilson, Tom 1.94 m (6 ft 4 in) 77 kg (170 lb)
C 6 Australia Bogut, Andrew 2.13 m (7 ft 0 in) 118 kg (260 lb)
G/F 8 Australia Newley, Brad 1.99 m (6 ft 6 in) 94 kg (207 lb)
G 9 United States Randle, Jerome (I) 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in) 77 kg (170 lb)
G 11 Australia Lisch, Kevin (C) 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 88 kg (194 lb)
F/C 14 Australia Kickert, Daniel 2.08 m (6 ft 10 in) 109 kg (240 lb)
F 22 Australia Pineau, Dane 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 102 kg (225 lb)
F 34 United States Wear, David (I) 2.08 m (6 ft 10 in) 102 kg (225 lb)
F 45 South Sudan Deng, Deng 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in) 93 kg (205 lb)
F United States Bowen, Brian (NS) 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in) 86 kg (190 lb)
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Development player
  • (I) Import player
  • (NS) Next Star player
  • Injured Injured

Updated: 8 August 2018

25th Anniversary Team[edit]

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.[9]

Depth chart[edit]


Pos. Starter Bench Bench Reserve
C Matthew Nielsen Leon Trimmingham
PF Chris Williams Mark Dalton Mark Worthington
SF Dwayne McClain Damian Keogh
SG Jason Smith C. J. Bruton Ben Madgen
PG Shane Heal Steve Carfino

Notable players[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.

Games against NBA teams[edit]

2 October 2017
Sydney Kings Australia 83–108 United States Utah Jazz


  1. ^ Cockerill, Michael (15 October 1987). "One-team saviour for basketball". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 47 (48). Retrieved 10 April 2018. 
  2. ^ Morrissey, Tim (27 March 2008). "Goorjian aide next in line for Kings job". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "NBL terminates Kings licence" (Press release). NBL. 2008. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2008. 
  4. ^ Otto, Tyson (25 March 2010). "New Sydney Kings owners right old wrongs". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Agent: Bogut's deal with Australian team is off". Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  6. ^ Hand, Guy (16 March 2012). "Bogut's future hinges on ankle scans". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "800 up for Kings – Official Website of the Sydney Kings". 6 November 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  8. ^ "New ownership for Sydney Kings – NBL – The National Basketball League". 13 March 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "Official Website of the Sydney Kings -". Archived from the original on 13 October 2013. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 

External links[edit]