Sacramento Kings Celebrate Black History Month
Today the Sacramento Kings tip-off their 21st Annual Black History Month celebration, presented in partnership with SMUD, Golden 1 Credit Union, Crown Royal and Arden Fair.
Building upon the pillars of the organization’s “Pledge to Our Black Community,” the programming for February includes dialogues with Kings players and broadcasters, a virtual Studio Session featuring America’s Got Talent Season 15 winner Brandon Leake, a financial education workshop for college students and community awards honoring inspiring local leaders.
“We are committed to standing in solidarity with our community and working with those who are fighting tirelessly to be the change they want to see in the world,” said Kings Chief Operating Officer Matina Kolokotronis. “We remain dedicated to working with our partners to ensure that we have better days ahead – leading by example and using our platform to do good, amplifying diverse voices and investing in Black youth.”
Advancing Racial Equality Through Candid Conversations
Throughout the month, the Kings will host dialogues with players, coaches and broadcast talent about social justice, advancing racial equality and personal experiences led by the organization’s Black and Beyond and Diversity and Inclusion employee resource groups.
On February 5, Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton and forward Glenn Robinson III will take part in a “Perspective” conversation to discuss being Black men in America, the power of athlete advocacy and the public’s role in building empathy. The conversation will be moderated by Kings TV Play-by-Play Announcer and Host of Kings Pregame and Postgame Live Kyle Draper and streamed live on Kings.com.
On February 10, the Kings will debut the first of a three-part roundtable discussion with 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 team’s social channels about the impact of Black culture and the importance of growing Black businesses. The second installment, discussing racial justice, will air on February 15 and the third segment about investing in Black futures, on February 24.
Supporting Sacramento’s Black-Owned Businesses
To highlight and elevate local Black businesses, the organization will team up with the Build.Black. Coalition to amplify the launch of the Build.Black. mobile app, a digital platform designed to bring together entrepreneurs, artists, businesses, consumers and community members to build the social, economic and cultural vitality in Sacramento and beyond. App users will be able to promote their business endeavors and community events, find and support Black businesses and artists, and join the ongoing conversation and movement to invest in the power, talents and futures of Black individuals, families and communities.
Additionally, the Kings will feature and highlight ten Black-owned businesses in the Sacramento area, both in-game and on the team’s social media channels. These businesses will have the opportunity to announce the starting lineups virtually on February 9 when the Kings take on the Philadelphia 76ers and on February 12 versus the Orlando Magic.
Investing in Black Futures
Furthering their commitment to investing in Black futures, the team will partner with Golden 1 Credit Union to host a Financial Education Workshop for Black college students from Sacramento State’s DEGREES Project and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center.
The franchise will highlight the accomplishments of local Black college students on their social channels and youth from local nonprofits will virtually introduce the Kings starting five as the team takes on the Charlotte Hornets on February 28.
Highlighting Local Black Artists
On February 16, the Kings, in collaboration with the team’s NBA G League affiliate – the Stockton Kings, will host a virtual Studio Session, powered by SMUD and Arden Fair, featuring spoken word artist Brandon Leake. The Stockton native and 2020 winner of America's Got Talent will speak with youth about the importance of goal setting and planning, the impact of Black historical figures and entrepreneurs on his journey and provide advice gleaned from his personal experiences. Attendees will include youth from Edison High School, Architects of Hope and from Milwaukee, Minnesota and Dallas as part of the ongoing Team Up for Change partnership between the Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Wings.
The organization has partnered with the Black Artist Fund who has curated artwork from local Black artists that will be featured on the screens at the Grand Entrance to Golden 1 Center and near the corner of L and 5th Streets throughout the month. The team will also amplify resource threads from experts and organizations striving to cultivate champions for change.
Honoring Black Community Leaders
Throughout the month, the team will virtually honor four Black leaders with the Dream All-Star Award, powered by SMUD. These individuals include Public Health Advocates Senior Director of Policy Dr. Flojaune Cofer, Ph.D., MPH, Executive Director of Mutual Assistance Network Danielle Lawrence, Improve Your Tomorrow Co-founder and CEO Michael Lynch and U.C. Davis Chancellor Gary S. May. Each awardee was also asked to nominate a young person or mentee who they believe is making a difference in their community to be honored as well.
In partnership with Crown Royal, the Kings will award Shonna McDaniels of the Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum and Julian Dixon of the Sacramento Philharmonic and Professor at Sacramento State with the 2021 Crown Royal Culture Creator Award.
Committed to Community
The franchise is rooted in giving back by investing and aligning time, resources, talent and passion. Since 2018, the Kings have partnered with the Build.Black. Coalition to host more than 60 events with over 2,600 area youth, including youth healing forums, STEM education and mentoring workshops and a co-ed youth sports and mentoring league focused on using sport as an agent for change. The work of this partnership and the Kings leadership to create the Team Up for Change platform, which stands as a model for how sports teams can address injustice issues in their respective cities, was recognized with the 2019 and 2020 NBA Innovation Inclusion Awards.