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Longest postseason droughts in North American sports history: Kings aim to end historic NBA playoff drought

Like with most types of history, there’s a right and a wrong side in sports history. Currently, the Sacramento Kings are firmly cemented on the wrong side of history.

As it stands, the date of Sacramento’s last NBA Playoff game was May 5, 2006, meaning 16 seasons and nearly 17 years have passed since the franchise has participated in the postseason.

The Kings have been one of the NBA’s best feel-good stories of the 2022-23 season and all signs indicate that the drought is finally set to come to an end. 

Where does Sacramento’s drought rank among the longest postseason droughts in North American sports? With a playoff berth in 2023, the Kings can avoid holding a place in sports infamy.

MORE: How Kings’ new victory tradition took the NBA by storm in 2022-23

Longest postseason droughts in North American sports history

You’ll notice a trend here.

According to Champs or Chumps, the St. Louis Browns hold the record for the longest postseason drought in North American sports history, having missed the postseason in 41 straight years.

MLB teams make up the rest of the top 10 list.

Rank Team League Years Drought
1. St. Louis Browns MLB 41 1903-1944
2. Cleveland Indians MLB 40 1955-1995
3. Chicago White Sox MLB 39 1920-1959
  Oakland Athletics MLB 39 1932-1971
5. Chicago Cubs MLB 38 1946-1984
6. Texas Rangers MLB 35 1961-1996
7. Philadelphia Phillies MLB 34 1916-1950
8. Boston Braves MLB 33 1915-1948
9. Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 32 1928-1960
10. Minnesota Twins MLB 31 1934-1965

Longest active postseason droughts in North American sports

The Jets, who last qualified for the playoffs in 2010, own the NFL’s longest active postseason drought while the longest active postseason drought in the NHL belongs to the Sabres, who last played a playoff game in 2011.

The Angels and Tigers, who each last qualified for the playoffs in 2014, are owners of the MLB’s longest postseason drought.

After the Mariners qualified for the 2022 MLB Playoffs, the Kings became owners of the longest active playoff drought in all of North American sports.

Sacramento’s drought is also the longest postseason drought in NBA history.

The Hornets are owners of the NBA’s second-longest NBA Playoff drought. While Charlotte played in the Play-In Tournament in 2021 and 2022, the franchise has not played in a playoff game since 2016.

Rank Team League Years
1. Kings NBA 16
2. Jets NFL 12
3. Sabres NHL 11
4. Angels MLB 8
  Tigers MLB 8
6. Broncos NFL 7
  Pirates MLB 7
  Royals MLB 7
9. Hornets NBA 6
  Lions NFL 6
  Orioles MLB 6
  Rangers MLB 6
  Red Wings NHL 6

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