Kenny Thomas Rumors

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Kenny Thomas
Kenny Thomas
Position: None
Born: 07/25/77
Height: 6-7 / 2.01
Weight:244 lbs. / 111.1 kg.
Standing right next to the dining room-turned-dance floor, smiling, shaking hands and taking lots of pictures with fans was former Sacramento Kings forward and El Rey restaurant co-owner Kenny Thomas. “When I walked up, we were at capacity, so I, technically, had to wait for others to walk out so I could walk in,” Thomas told The Undefeated. “I’d rather be at capacity and I can’t get in. It’s crazy. I walked up and people want me to try to get them in and I’m like, ‘Uh, we’re at capacity. I can’t do nothing.’ “Being at capacity, that means we’re making money. I don’t have no complaints. Every time I walk in here, I get nervous. It doesn’t seem real to me that I own this place.”
“I couldn’t steal the Kings’ name, so we came up with ‘El Rey,’ which is ‘the king’ in Spanish and I used to play for the Kings,” Thomas said. “So that’s how I came up with the name. It was a long process trying to get it open. Now we have Taco Tuesdays with DJs, we’re open to 2 a.m. and have a DJ on Saturdays and after concerts and events. And we’re right across the street from Golden 1 Center. It’s crazy.
Thomas says he began contemplating life after basketball when his playing time began to drop with the Kings during his last three NBA seasons. His NBA days ended in 2010 when he was waived during the Memphis Grizzlies’ training camp. “I had a good career. In the prime, they say your prime is 27-28 to 32-33. I didn’t get the play in my prime. My last three years with the Kings I didn’t play much. Out of sight, out of mind, and I was getting older. I had 10 coaches in 11 years, but I wouldn’t change anything,” said Thomas, 39.
The former Kings forward isn’t merely an employee, though. He is part owner of the taqueria that opened Aug. 11 and is situated a half-court shot from Golden 1 Center. The location, he explains, was critical. The closer to the arena, the better. The other significant factor was the timing. Similar to a fast break, you want to get downcourt before the competition catches up. Other than Malt & Mash, the Irish pub that shares the building but limits its service to those 21 and older, most of the nearby surroundings are in various stages of development. Thomas and his partners are also constructing a third eatery on the ground floor of the Ochsner Building, which was built in 1895 and, looking to the west, borders the site of the annual ice rink.
Thomas laughs when reminded about the circumstances that brought him to Sacramento, then shakes his head. Life in the NBA can be difficult. He played for 10 coaches in 11 years. But life after the NBA can be even more trying, he suggests. He is going through a divorce. He misses those $10 million paychecks. He has been forced to reinvent himself and – as the soft-spoken but high-profile face of El Rey – overcome his shyness. As patrons entered the restaurant during our conversation Wednesday afternoon, Thomas maintained a watchful eye on his surroundings. He pointed out blank wall space that needs another big-screen television, alerted the bartender about a patron who needed attention, and excused himself briefly to welcome a familiar face.
The Memphis Grizzlies are looking for some Free Agent Vereran Help as they prepare to open training camp next week. The Grizzlies brought in 10 Veterans for informal workouts…all looking at grabbing that 15th and Final Roster Spot. Among them, Forward Kenny Thomas, a 6’7″ Power Forward who played last season at Sacramento. Also working out, Luke Jackson and Damien Wilkins..plus NBA Journeyman Tre Kelley, who’ll give the Grizz a 3rd Point Guard while Rookie Draft Pick Greivis Vasquez recovers from Off-Season Ankle Surgery.