Black History Month Spotlight: Jr. Kings Manager Justin Williams

In honor of Black History Month, the Kings organization is highlighting members of the team who have made an impact in their field while also representing their African American heritage.

How would you describe your role with the Sacramento Kings?

As Jr. Kings Manager, I'm responsible for all aspects of youth basketball programming, while planning and activating initiatives and events within the social responsibility team.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

What I most enjoy about my job is the opportunity to pass down my knowledge of the game of basketball to the youth, while being able to interact with members of the Sacramento community on an array of different initiatives.

Who have been your biggest role models?

There’s been a countless amount of coaches, friends and family members who have served as role models in my life. But my biggest role models outside of my parents are my oldest brothers, Jamaal and Etop Udo-Ema. They both provide a blueprint to life about morals, values and aspirations as a black man in society. They make following in footsteps the easiest, because I am learning from those who have already worn those shoes.

How would you define black culture, and why is it important to celebrate?

I feel like black culture is unique – you can see a piece of our heritage in all aspects of life. Black culture is important to celebrate, because teachings from our past are still prevalent in our present. The only way for the youth to know where they are going in life is to learn from where we have been as a people.

What advice would you give to fellow African Americans who are striving to succeed in the sports and entertainment industry?

Keep applying and applying, learn from each interview and experience, and once you get in the door be present and hold yourself accountable and continue to strive to be great.

As we learn from the past and honor the legacy and contributions of black leaders from history, how can each take action in the present to build a more just, equal, and inclusive future?

I believe the pain and sacrifice that many have gone through from our past have helped us build and gain the strength to continue to fight for equality. The biggest challenge is breaking the stigma or disdain from the past, while tearing down the generational cycle of racism and inequality within everyone. The one thing I believe everyone needs to be open to doing is coming to the table, listen, and have the difficult talks that will often make individuals uncomfortable. After those conversations, everything has to be followed by action to follow our words.

Why is it important to continue to encourage diversity in the workplace?

Diversity in the workplace creates a platform where we can maximize creativity and help grow to new levels while creating a productive organization.