Yakima Sun Kings
|Yakima Sun Kings|
|History||Kansas City Sizzlers
Yakima Sun Kings
Yakama Sun Kings
|Location||Yakima, Washington, U.S.|
|Team colors||Blue, Gold, and White|
|Head coach||Paul Woolpert|
|Ownership||Yakama Indian Nation|
|Championships||5 (1995, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007)|
The Yakima Sun Kings was a Continental Basketball Association franchise located in Yakima, Washington, covering the central Washington sports market of Yakima, Tri-Cities, and Ellensburg. The Sun Kings played at the Yakima SunDome. In June 2005, the team was purchased by the Yakama Indian Nation and was renamed the Yakama Sun Kings (from Yakima to Yakama) to honor the Nation.
The franchise started in Kansas City, Missouri, then moved to Topeka, Kansas and the Pacific Northwest. In 1990 the team was purchased by Sacramento attorney Robert Wilson and was led By GM Brooks Ellison. Ex-Major League Baseball Player Ted Bowesfield was hired as an adviser. Dianne LaBissionaire, Pat Beehler, and Jay Mahn conducted day-to-day operations. A local contest to select a name was held, and the Yakima Sun Kings was chosen, replacing the old name, "Sizzlers". The team hired local favorite Dean Nicholson as coach. Dennis Rahm became the play by play radio announcer and handled media releases.
The Sun Kings was the first team to show a profit in the history of the CBA. The team was fairly successful historically, given the inconsistent nature of minor-league basketball; they won the 1994–95, 1999–2000, 2002–03, 2005–06 and 2006-07 CBA championships. The Sun Kings had a disappointing 2003–04 season when they posted a 10–38 record. They were also 0–9 against the CBA Champion Dakota Wizards.
Ronny Turiaf, a draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2005, played nine games for the Sun Kings in the 2005–06 season, less than six months after undergoing open-heart surgery which caused the Lakers to void his contract. He averaged 13 points in nine games with the team before re-signing with the Lakers in January 2006.
Although the Yakama Indian Nation announced they had shut down team operations on April 10, 2008, due to the franchise's financial losses, potential investors continue to meet with the team's owners in order to keep the team afloat.
- ESPN.com, "Lakers sign F Turiaf" accessed February 1, 2005
- Yakima Herald-Republic, "Sun Kings win CBA Title"
- Yakima Herald-Republic, "Without a doubt - Sun Kings win CBA Title"
- Seattle Times, "CBA's Sun Kings Fold"
- Yakima Herald-Republic, "CBA -- Potential Sun Kings owners emerge"