Vivek Ranadivé and the Sacramento Kings Receive Robert T. Matsui Community Service Award

By Haley Rose

For the past 20 years, the MLK Committee, a volunteer group of community leaders in Sacramento, has paid tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. King through the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

On Saturday, January 26, during the committee’s 20th annual celebration at Sacramento State University, Sacramento Kings President of Business Operations John Rinehart accepted the Robert T. Matsui Community Service Award. This award, which is presented annually to an outstanding community member who exemplifies the essence of Dr. King’s dream, honored both the Kings franchise and the leadership of Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé for their ongoing efforts to use the NBA platform as an agent for change in Sacramento.

Late Congressman Robert T. Matsui was a honorary co-chair of the MLK Celebration event and a passionate leader for the region. He was first elected to the Sacramento City Council in 1971 and served as the Vice Mayor of Sacramento in 1977 before becoming a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1979. Throughout his career, Matsui was dedicated to using his political platform to advocate for the community and improve the lives of individuals in Sacramento and beyond.

Vivek and the Kings possess similar qualities to both Dr. King and Congressman Matsui, sharing core values of equality, a commitment to inclusion and the promotion of educational opportunities. Under Vivek’s leadership, the Kings operate with a passion for investing in diversity, innovation and community. In March 2018, the franchise publicly stood up following the shooting of a young unarmed Black man, Stephon Clark, recognizing that business could not continue as usual and made a commitment to work with the community to prevent future tragedies. The Kings subsequently entered a multi-year partnership Build.Black. Coalition with the goal to help the community heal and to focus on supporting education, workforce preparedness and economic development efforts for young people from disadvantaged areas of the city. Some examples of opportunities that have and continue to be provided are youth healing forums, educational workshops and the Kings and Queens Rise co-ed youth basketball league to further support Sacramento’s youth and proactively invest in transformation for Black communities.

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Congressman Robert T. Matsui exemplified true community leadership and their legacies continue to inspire us all,” said Sacramento Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé. “It is a tremendous honor to be recognized with this award as we work to invest in the youth of Sacramento.”

“Vivek Ranadivé and the Sacramento Kings truly value Sacramento, support our community, and work every day to make lives better,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06). “They strive to reach out and lift up the community around them. And, the Kings’ outreach programs for kids throughout the Sacramento-area support STEM education and community-building through sports. That, in turn, helps our kids strive for a better day in their lives and the lives around them.”

The Kings are committed to creating a lasting impact throughout the community by embodying Dr. King’s values on a daily-basis. On January 14, as the players welcomed the Portland Trail Blazers to the hardwood, the Kings hosted a celebration to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King and the team’s continued support for diversity and equality in the community through various in-game celebrations – including a halftime video featuring Kings coaches, dancers, players and Build.Black. Coalition youth reading the “I Have A Dream” Speech. During the game, the Kings presented the MLK Jr. Community Impact Award to The Center at Sierra Health Foundation for their inspiring work with My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Collaborative to bring active change to the Black community in Sacramento.

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