Today, the Sacramento Kings tip-off their 22nd Annual Black History Month celebration, powered by SMUD. Continuing to build upon the pillars of the organization’s “Pledge to Our Black Community” launched in June 2020, the programming for February includes a technology and investment panel aimed at supporting Black and diverse entrepreneurs, dialogues with Kings coaches and broadcasters and community awards honoring inspiring local leaders.
“Throughout the month, we will continue to promote collective learning, honor Black culture and recognize the contributions of Black leaders locally and nationwide,” said Sacramento Kings Chief Operating Officer Matina Kolokotronis. “We are committed to using our platform to amplify opportunities, resources and mentorship to support our Black youth.”
During each February home game, the organization will recognize and honor a local community member as a Dream All-Star. These individuals include SMUD Chief Diversity Officer Gary King, Lucas Public Affairs Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Cassandra Walker Pye, Yolo County Children’s Alliance Executive Director Jeneba Lahai and United Way California Capital Region CEO Dawnte Early. These awards will be presented in-game in partnership with SMUD.
Tomorrow, as the team hosts the Brooklyn Nets, GRAMMY® award-winning rapper, singer, producer and actor Coolio will perform at halftime. Prior to tip-off, Coolio will sit down with local artists and nonprofits for a studio session presented by Arden Fair in Golden 1 Center’s Music Recording Studio to discuss his journey and passion and celebrate their work in our community. Participating local nonprofits including NAACP, Improve Your Tomorrow and Sacramento Housing Alliance will also be showcased on the arena concourse.
On February 8, as the Kings take on the Minnesota Timberwolves, the organization will highlight the work of Mutual Assistance Network to support local youth and families. Then on February 9, as the Kings face the Timberwolves again, the team will shine a light on West African culture and heritage with a special look at Kings forward Chimezie Metu’s journey to the NBA and the impact of the Basketball Africa League. West African music, dance and art will be on display with tracks by DJ Lisa Nwoye, a performance by Duniya Dance Group and art by Ike Slimster. Additionally, local nonprofits Project Digital Africa, working to bridge the digital gap in Africa and Africa House Sacramento, a multipurpose cultural and educational center, will share information about their efforts with fans on the concourse.
On February 24, the organization will recognize the impact and celebrate the history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) as the team takes on the Denver Nuggets. During the game, the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. will show off their stepping and the ZuZu African Acrobats will perform at halftime. Local nonprofits and organizations, including United College Action Network, Inc. (U-CAN), will be present to provide fans with additional resources.
Prior to the game, the organization will host a panel titled “The Future of Tech & Investing: Supporting Black & Diverse Entrepreneurs” to encourage young, Black, aspiring entrepreneurs in the Sacramento region. The panel, moderated by Kings Analyst Matt Barnes, will feature successful entrepreneurs who will speak about important topics in the technology and investing space and provide mentorship, including Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé, Entrepreneur, Investor, Philanthropist, and two-time NBA All-Star Baron Davis, Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital Arlan Hamilton, Investor and Venture Capitalist Kesha Cash and Special Advisor for Economic Mobility and Opportunity for Governor Gavin Newsom Michael Tubbs. The event will also feature special guests including, former NBA player, Investor and Entrepreneur Metta World Peace, Entrepreneur and Multi-Platinum Songwriter Michaela Shiloh and Grammy Award Winning Musician, Entrepreneur, Feminist and Activist Madison Calley Jenkins.
This year, the NBA is also hosting a unique fellowship program, aiming to provide career development opportunities in the business of basketball for undergraduate and graduate students from HBCUs. The 10-week paid summer internship will run from June to August, and participants will be selected by NBA teams and the league office to work within various departments, including ticket sales, corporate partnerships, legal, social responsibility, digital and marketing. Interested applicants should apply via the NBA Foundation by February 20.
On February 28, the Kings and Apple Pay will team up with CodeDay to host 50 local high school students at Golden 1 Center for an afternoon of exploring a future in tech and beyond.
As part of Black History Month, the Kings organization will host two dialogues providing a unique perspective into NBA coaches and broadcasters. Sacramento Kings Interim Head Coach Alvin Gentry and Stockton Kings Head Coach Bobby Jackson will discuss what it is like being head coach in the NBA and NBA G League, respectively. Additionally, Kings Director of Player Development and Assistant Coach Rico Hines and Analyst Matt Barnes will talk about their journeys from UCLA and ways they have used basketball to open doors in their careers. These conversations will debut throughout the month on the team’s website and social channels.
Throughout February, the team will highlight local Black-owned businesses and in partnership with the Black Artist Fund, will feature work from local Black artists on the screens at the Grand Entrance to Golden 1 Center and near the corner of L and 5th Streets. The team will also amplify resource threads from experts and organizations striving to cultivate champions for change.