Thomas Robinson, the #5 pick by the Sacramento Kings, was welcomed warmly by fans at the annual Rookie Rally held at Arden Fair Mall. The former Kansas Jayhawk had just finished a press conference at PowerBalance Pavilion and a meet-and-greet with Season Ticket Holders.
Scheduled for 3:00 p.m., a late arrival made the crowd even more anxious. A stage was set up in the center of the Arden Fair Mall, in front of Nordstrom’s. Fans crowded the floor, as well as the railings and bridges overhead. Posters were handed out, and the crowd filled every square foot of the floor area behind the ropes. The number of Kansas signs, hats & shirts made sure that the former Kansas sophmore would get a taste of home.
To warm the crowd up, the Sacramento Breakers dance team dazzled the crowd. Scott Moak, Kings Public Address Announcer, further pumped the fans up by hosting a dance contest, using brave volunteers from the audience. Kings miniballs and teeshirts were tossed into eager hands, as everyone’s anticipation grew.
Coach Keith Smart took the stage and shared his feelings about the Draft Day experience, as well as his optimism for the new season. He saw a bright future with the new Kings power forward, pairing him with DeMarcus Cousins.
Robinson walked onto the stage amidst thunderous chants of "T-Rob", his nickname back at Kansas. It was obvious that the warm welcome affected him, as tears of joy were visibile. After posing for photos with some Kings fans who had been among the first to buy a number "0", Thomas Robinson jersey, he told the fans how grateful he was for their welcome. His tears of joy were replace by a smile that wouldn’t stop, as he realized how much he was loved by Sacramento.
Welcome to your new neighborhood, Mr. Robinson!