Chants of "Sac-rah-men-to" and a standing ovation greeted Mayor Kevin Johnson as he walked into a downtown bar. It was a mix of 90 Kings fans and elected officials and a dozen investors who have put millions of dollars toward buying the team and keeping it here.
The Mayor urged caution, "Yes, a lot of people are going to write about it and say it's over. We do not want to dance in the end zone. We do not want to celebrate prematurely. We want to be thankful for where we are today."
An NBA spokesman says seven members of the committee unanimously recommended against a Seattle group's plan to move the team. But the decision won't be final until all 30 owners vote in two weeks. For Kings fan, Gloria Bailey, the news was a dream come true, "I feel like I've lost 25 pounds. I don't look like it. But, a weight has been lifted off my shoulders."
Johnson was also exuberant when he first heard the news. At 2:15 in the afternoon, he tweeted, "That's what I'm talking about SACRAMENTO!!!!! WE DID IT!!!!!"
Three hours later, he was more sedate, "This was a big win for Sacramento. We would not be telling the truth if we didn't act like it was a big win. But, we have to respect the process. Owners are still going to still deliberate and make a final decision."
Chris Lopez and Tim Ghiorso gave each other bear hugs on the sidewalk and recounted how they had spent the hours waiting to hear how the committee voted, "Dude! What's up man? Aw, Come here! Oh! We finally did it! Ohh!. Dude! So sick. I have been pumped all friggin day. I've had the radio blaring throughout the house."
For basketball fans in Seattle who have been hoping for a new team to call the Sonics, Twitter was their outlet. Many raised the white flag and offered congratulations while urging the NBA to consider adding a new team. Others said the Seattle group should continue to fight.
On NBATV retiring league Commissioner David Stern said he'd "never say never" to an expansion team but he'd leave that issue to his successor.
Johnson says he understands Seattle's bid for the Kings is not over, but he does expect the NBA to give a group of Sacramento investors guidance on making a deal to buy the team from the current Kings' majority owners.
All of the league's owners are scheduled to vote on the relocation plan, and possibly a Sacramento bid for the team on May 15.