Staples Center is the home of multiple Los Angeles sports franchises including the Clippers (NBA), Lakers (NBA), Sparks (WNBA) and most importantly, the LA Kings. However, until recently it was also home to a banner that some Kings fans believed jinxed the team.
Starting in October 2019, the LA Kings began covering up the Taylor Swift banner during home games due to fan disdain towards the “cursed” banner. To understand why this superstition came to be, you need to know how the Kings fared before the banner was lifted to the rafters, and how they fared afterward.
Before the Banner
The LA Kings were on a roll before the banner was raised in 2015. Throughout most of the 2000s, the Kings were rebuilding. By stockpiling draft picks, they managed to assemble a group of top talents such as future Hall of Fame blueliner Drew Doughty; one of the best two-way forwards of this generation, Anze Kopitar; a gritty top-line winger in Dustin Brown; goaltending sensation Jonathan Quick; and now-former King Tyler Toffoli.
By drafting talents such as the aforementioned players and through acquiring players such as Jeff Carter (who was a fantastic second-line center back in the day) and Mr. Game 7, Justin Williams, the Kings had a great roster rolling into the 2010s. This core resulted in the team having its most successful period in franchise history
In 2012, the Kings made the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and shockingly annihilated the reigning, back-to-back Presidents’ Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks in the opening round. Led by Brown and Kopitar at forward and a dominant Jonathan Quick in net, the Kings went on to defeat the St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes, and New Jersey Devils en route to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
LA followed 2012 up with another successful playoff run in 2013. They defeated St. Louis in the first round, and most memorably for Kings’ fans, dispatched their longtime rival San Jose in the conference semifinal. In the Western Conference Final, LA lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, who subsequently became one of LA’s biggest rivals of the early to mid-2010s.
Related: Los Angeles Kings’ Greatest Rivals
2014 saw the Kings win their second Stanley Cup in the span of three seasons in a very memorable playoff run. LA humiliated their rival Sharks by stunningly reverse sweeping them in the first round – one of the rarest feats to accomplish in the playoffs. Afterward, they knocked out another of the team’s greatest foes, the Anaheim Ducks, in a brutal seven-game series, which marked the first time the “Freeway Face-Off” was contested in the postseason.
In the Western Conference Final, LA enacted revenge on the Blackhawks in what was later named “the series of the decade.” Finally, LA disposed of the New York Rangers in five games to once again capture hockey’s greatest prize, Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The Cursed Banner
On Aug. 21, 2015, Staples Center hung up a banner commemorating Taylor Swift selling out the arena for 16 concerts in a row. Subsequently, the so-called Taylor Swift banner jinx began.
Following the arrival of the banner, the Kings have had no playoff success. The Kings missed the 2015 playoffs, marking the first time they missed the postseason in the decade. As a result of the team’s lackluster season, the myth of the jinxed banner was born.
The first playoffs the Kings qualified for (2016) after the banner was hung saw them receive a five-game drubbing in the first round at the hands of the Sharks, who were looking for revenge after being reverse swept by LA in 2014.
In 2017, LA once again missed the playoffs. In the 2017-18 season, Anze Kopitar posted a career-high 92 points, lifting the team back into the playoffs. However, the Kings were once again quickly disposed of. This time around, the Vegas Golden Knights (a first-year expansion team) humiliated the Kings by sweeping them in the first round.
The Kings missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons, and in 2019, they began covering the Taylor Swift banner before every game, as their recent run of failure had only begun after the banner was raised.
How it Impacts the Team
Whether the banner was what doomed the Kings’ playoff dreams or if it was just their window closing will never be known. However, removing it will appease the fan base, who didn’t like the banner to begin with, and the other portion, who believed it to be jinxed. This marks a win-win for the Kings (good PR) and the fans who disliked the banner. If LA qualifies for the playoffs in 2021, you will probably see some people discussing the curse being lifted.