Sacramento Kings and Incarcerated Individuals Come Together For First NBA 'Play For Justice' Event at Folsom State Prison

Today, the Sacramento Kings, with the REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign tipped off a series of basketball games at correctional facilities between incarcerated individuals and NBA players and coaches. Players and coaches from the Kings sat down for a facilitated conversation with incarcerated people at the Folsom State Prison and members of the REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign, who are themselves formerly incarcerated. Following the conversation, players and coaches served as honorary coaches during an hour-long basketball game for roundtable participants.

Today’s game at the Folsom State Prison was organized by the REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign, in partnership with One Community, working with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) and the Kings. The Campaign organized the Play for Justice initiative to advance the goals of uplifting narratives of hope and redemption to break down stigmas associated with individuals – disproportionately people of color and the poor – who are impacted by the criminal justice system.

“We're proud to be the first participant in the Play for Justice initiative, which is shining a bright light on the unique issues facing incarcerated people in communities around the country,” said Vivek Ranadivé, Chairman, CEO and Governor of the Sacramento Kings. “Sports franchises have a unique opportunity to bring about positive change, which is why in the past year, the Kings and the Bucks brought together leaders from across two cities to share best practices and find new solutions to social injustices. This collaboration with REPRESENT JUSTICE is another example of how we can use our platforms for good.”

"I’ve joined the Represent Justice Campaign because after being sentenced to life in prison and now free, I want people to see that I am the reflection, not the exception, of humanity that's hidden inside our prison walls. In starting and leading a successful justice reform organization, I want to share my story so that redemption and second chances are driving values in the effort to reform our legal system,” said Adnan Khan, a REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign surrogate, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Re:Store Justice, who will be participating in the Sacramento Kings activation. “With the support of the players involved in Play for Justice, we are taking our message of humanizing system-impacted people far and wide.”

An additional game will take place with the Milwaukee Bucks in December, and more activations with NBA and WNBA teams are to be announced this year and the beginning of 2020. In addition to the Play for Justice events in Sacramento and Milwaukee, the Campaign has worked with NBA and WNBA teams and players to organize events, including film screenings and community conversations, as part of the broader effort.

The Milwaukee Bucks, which will host the next Play for Justice event in December, partnered with Sacramento in February 2019 when the Kings hosted Team Up for Change – a first-of-its-kind summitto address social injustice by bringing together community leaders and advocates in pursuit of more equitable communities. The Kings will visit the Bucks on February 10, for the second installment of Team Up for Change in Milwaukee.

The games are part of the Campaign’s efforts to engage audiences and spark collective action to demand a fair legal system, dignity for system-impacted communities, and an end to extreme sentencing. On December 6, the Campaign organized a concert with Common for incarcerated individuals at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, California. In November, the Campaign, working with world-renowned French artist JR, captured and pasted portraits of 48 formerly and currently incarcerated individuals at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi, California to create a large-scale mural in the facility’s yard.

Through art, storytelling, and values-based conversations focused on redemption, mercy, and the possibility of a second chance, the REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign, in partnership with One Community, will aim to humanize incarcerated individuals in the media and public opinion. Campaign partners include: 8th Amendment Project, Alliance for Safety and Justice, Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth, Color of Change, Healing Dialogue and Action, Prison Fellowship, The Justice Collaborative, The Innocence Project, The Sentencing Project, The Vera Institute for Justice, and Witness to Innocence.