Recap: Kings Celebrate Black History Month
Throughout February and beyond, the Sacramento Kings are dedicated to celebrating and honoring Black history. This year, building upon the pillars of the organization’s “Pledge to Our Black Community” released in June 2020, the team developed programming for the entire month aimed at advancing racial equity through candid conversations, supporting Sacramento’s Black-owned businesses, investing in Black futures, highlighting local Black artists and honoring Black community leaders. These efforts were made possible in partnership with Golden 1 Credit Union, Arden Fair, SMUD and Crown Royal.
“For us, it’s really important to be able to use the platform that we have in the NBA, which is a great international platform, to create change and do good in the community. Vivek’s vision has always been to use this platform to help lift up the youth of our community and those that are most underserved in the Black community and give them opportunities that they might not otherwise have,” said Sacramento Kings President of Business Operations John Rinehart on ABC 10’s “Your California Life” morning show. “It’s much more than a month for us; it’s about the continuation of our dialogue. Our players, coaches and team members have been involved in the activities. And we couldn’t do any of the work we do without the partnerships and a lot of the great community leaders that we have.”
Advancing Racial Equity Through Candid Conversations
Focused on addressing racial justice, Kings players, coaches and broadcast talent took part in several dialogues, presented by the organization’s Black and Beyond and Diversity and Inclusion employee resource groups, to share their personal experiences and the action needed for sustainable change.
On February 5, rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton and forward Glenn Robinson III joined Kings TV Play-by-Play Announcer and Host of Kings Pregame and Postgame Live Kyle Draper for a “Perspective” conversation to discuss their views on the status of race in America, what Black Lives Matter and white privilege means to them and why it is important to support Black businesses.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) February 9, 2021
“Like Ty said, it’s [the term ‘Black Lives Matter’] very simple words. I think it means stop killing us, stop disrespecting us and treat us like human beings. I think it is very simple, but unfortunately, we are going to continue to have to say,” said Kings forward Glenn Robinson III. “All I ask and all I want is for that term to be taken seriously and people to understand that we are humans. We have the same right to live, and Black people are the most powerful people on this earth. I think once you continue to educate yourself, you continue to see we are all equal, and hopefully, we can get to that point.”
In the weeks that followed, the team debuted a three-part roundtable discussion featuring Kyle Draper, Kings TV Play-by-Play Announcer Mark Jones, Kings Legend and Color Analyst Doug Christie, Assistant Player Development Coach Lindsey Harding and Vice President of Kings Academy and Professional Development Galen Duncan on the impact of Black culture, the fight for racial justice and investing in Black youth.
Join the Kings family in Part 1 of a 3-Part series, as we delve into the impact of Black culture and teaching and learning from our past.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) February 11, 2021
In addition, on March 1 and 2, the organization welcomed renowned sociologist, civil rights activist and author Dr. Harry Edwards for conversations with both players and coaches as well as team members to discuss the power of sports and its influence on race and society and the role we can all play in championing change.
Supporting Sacramento’s Black-Owned Businesses
Continuing their multi-year partnership with the Build.Black. Coalition, the Kings amplified the launch of the Build.Black. mobile app, a digital directory of Black-owned businesses and services in the Sacramento region, the app aims to connect prospective customers to Black-owned businesses and support their long-term economic development.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) February 10, 2021
“As the Build.Black. Coalition works to grow institutional investments in Black businesses and neighborhoods, we simultaneously recognize the value of a community using its spending power and voice to advocate for change and are excited to launch these new tools,” said Sierra Health Foundation President and CEO and a founding member of the Build.Black. Coalition Chet P. Hewitt. “We are proud of and grateful for our partnership with the Kings, who continue to demonstrate their commitment to equity by supporting Black social and economic power, both as individuals and as a team.”
In addition, the organization showcased local Black-owned businesses in-game and on their social media channels and encouraged fans to support Black-owned businesses.
Investing in Black Futures
In early February, Kings forward Harrison Barnes, in partnership with Goalsetter and the National Basketball Players Association, selected 500 youth from Build.Black. in Sacramento and T.L. Marsalis Elementary STEAM Academy in Dallas, opened a savings account and gifted them $40 – a historic nod to the government’s failed promise of “40 acres and a mule” land redistribution following the Civil War – as part of the “Drafted” Campaign to educate Black and Brown youth on financial literacy. Barnes also joined the Build.Black. podcast to talk about what “build black” means to him and participated in an NBA roundtable to discuss the ongoing movement for racial justice.
“I was excited to be a part of this because I think financial literacy is extremely important. Those were conversations that, at a young age, I wasn’t having simply because money was tight and you were just trying to put one foot in front of the next,” said Kings forward Harrison Barnes on the Build.Black. podcast. “The idea of saving and what you’re going to do with your money, seeing it grow and compound interest and all of these different things were not necessarily in my repertoire – and I think those lessons are extremely important for these young kids to have financial freedom as they get older.”
Furthering access to financial literacy, on February 26, the Kings and Golden 1 Credit Union hosted a Financial Education Workshop for Black college students from Sacramento State’s DEGREES Project and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center.
“At Golden 1, we believe in the power of education to strengthen the financial well-being of our diverse communities,” said Golden 1 Credit Union Vice President, Communications and Community Relations Erica Taylor. “We’re dedicated to providing the financial education tools that students need to live financially healthy lives.”
Adding to the investment of Black futures, Kings Assistant Coach Lindsey Harding took part in a mentoring conversation with the Positive Coaching Alliance in celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day and Black History Month. Harding shared her experience as a female coach in the male-dominated world of the NBA and her advice to young girls and women, especially of color, on how to break the “norm” and push the boundaries.
On National Girls and Women in Sports Day, we celebrate Player Development Coach @Lindsey_Harding!
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) February 3, 2021
Highlighting Local Black Artists
Recognizing the power of art and culture, in partnership with the Black Artists Fund, the team featured curated artwork from local Black artists on the screens located near the Grand Entrance and the corner of 5th and L Streets.
Additionally, in an effort to highlight the impact of spoken word and to inspire youth, on February 16, the Kings hosted a virtual Studio Session, powered by SMUD and Arden Fair, with 2020 American’s Got Talent winner Brandon Leake. During the hour-long session, Leake shared advice gleaned from his personal experiences, hosted a writing and goal setting workshop and performed a piece called Steps. Attendees included 30 youth from Architects of Hope in Sacramento, as well as youth from Milwaukee and Dallas as part of the ongoing Team Up for Change partnership between the Kings, Bucks and Wings.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) February 18, 2021
“With all of the dreams and goals that you’ve mentioned in mind, I think an important thing to understand is that a goal or a dream will remain a dream and not be accomplished unless we figure out the things we have to do to make them become a reality,” said spoken word artist and America’s Got Talent Season 15 Winner Brandon Leake. “And the thing about goals is that there’s always going to be adversity that you’re going to have to conquer to accomplish anything great. The real people who end up accomplishing their dreams – it’s not that they faced no problems or issues – the thing is that they were able to overcome them by having a plan set in place to be able to attack those things and address them. So, if you can think of the issues you might face between here and your goals, then you may actually be able to avoid the potholes that get in your way.”
“Arden Fair is proud to join in this celebration of uplifting vital voices of change in our community,” said Arden Fair Marketing Director Nathan Spradlin. “The opportunity to inspire Sacramento’s youth is at the heart of our partnership.”
Honoring Black Community Leaders
The Sacramento region is rich with leaders tirelessly working to make meaningful change in our community. In February, the Kings virtually honored four Black community leaders with the annual Dream All-Star Award, powered by SMUD. The Dream All-Star Awardees were chosen for their impactful work advocating for health, social and economic services and championing education:
“We’re proud to be honoring Black leaders in our community who are making significant contributions to our neighborhoods,” said SMUD CEO and General Manager Paul Lau. “It’s because of these leaders and those that came before them, that we support a variety of programs and services to provide equity and access to opportunities for clean transportation, bill savings, healthcare, education and social services. We will continue to work with our community partners throughout the year as we work to improve the lives of our customers.”
“I want young black girls and boys to look at my art and experience something of worth, pride and value.”
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) February 10, 2021
In addition, the Kings partnered with Crown Royal to award Founder and Director of the Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum Shonna McDaniels and Sacramento Philharmonic Tubist and Sacramento State Professor Julian Dixon with the 2021 Crown Royal Culture Creator Award for their ongoing efforts to preserve, share and highlight Black culture through art and music.
During Black History Month and year-round, the Kings are committed to supporting the pursuit of racial justice through sustained action.
For Black Lives Matter resources, including articles, books, videos, podcasts, Black-owned businesses and more, visit Kings.com/BLM.
For more information on the Kings ongoing efforts to honor, highlight and support the Black community, visit Kings.com/Community.