Sacramento Kings Awarded 2019 NBA Inclusion Innovation Award
Today, the Sacramento Kings issued the following statement after being awarded with the 2019 NBA Inclusion Innovation Award for their efforts to help the Sacramento community following a devastating tragedy and support area youth. The NBA Inclusion Innovation Award recognizes a specific innovative program across the league that advances inclusive practices.
“As an organization, we have a responsibility to use our platform to positively impact the lives of those we touch and make the world a better place starting with our communities,” said Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé. “On behalf of my partners and the incredible staff at the Kings, it is an honor to receive this recognition from our colleagues at the NBA. We look forward to continuing our work to further demonstrate the role teams have in bettering and serving their communities.”
In March 2018, the city of Sacramento was rocked by the death of Stephon Clark. When protests closed Golden 1 Center, Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé took to center court to publicly make a commitment to work alongside the community to prevent future tragedies. In acting on this commitment, the Kings partnered with the Build.Black. Coalition, a group of community leaders organized to support transformational change for black communities in Sacramento, to catalyze social change.
“We applaud the Sacramento Kings for their ability to create inclusive environments for our young people who are the heart of our city,” said Chet P. Hewitt, president and CEO of Sierra Health Foundation and The Center, co-chair of the Steering Committee on Reduction of African American Child Deaths and co-founder of the BUILD.BLACK. Coalition. “It is important for our youth to not only have opportunities for healthy and fun activities like basketball, but to also see the many career pathways that are tied to a sports franchise.”
“We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Sacramento Kings, as they not only exist in our community, but are a part of our community,” said Pastor Lesley Simmons, senior pastor of South Sacramento Christian Center and a member of the BUILD.BLACK. Coalition. “The Sacramento Kings have continued to help play a role in lifting our community forward through their collaboration and desire for inclusive partnership with community.”
This multi-year partnership aims to help the community heal and proactively invest in Black youth. Kings players and staff have participated in youth healing forums, STEM education workshops and a co-ed youth basketball league, Kings and Queens Rise, all focused on using sport as an agent for change. Partnering with Build. Black., the Black Child Legacy Campaign and Kaiser Permanente, the youth basketball league sought to interrupt violence by providing an opportunity for young people to engage in inter-community sports. Additionally, in November, Kings forward Marvin Bagley III met with youth associated with Build.Black. at a Rally the Vote event to discuss current issues and the importance of voting.
In partnership with Build Black, the Kings continue to focus on supporting education, workforce preparedness and economic development efforts for young people from disadvantaged areas of the city.