Sacramento Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive took center court after Thursday night's 105-90 victory over the Atlanta Hawks to acknowledge that this night turned into something bigger than basketball.
To the sparse crowd in Golden 1 Center that could attend the game before the entrance was blocked by a human chain of protesters, Ranadive first expressed sympathy to the family of Stephon Clark, who was fatally shot by police in south Sacramento earlier in the week.
"On behalf of the players, the executives, ownership and the entire Kings family, first of all, we wanted to express our deepest sympathies to the family. What happened was absolutely horrific, and we are so very sorry for your loss," said Ranadive, flanked by the team and front office staff. "I also wanted to say that we at the Kings recognize your people's ability to protest peacefully, and we respect that."
Ranadive continued: "We here at the Kings recognize that we have a big platform. It's a privilege but it's also a responsibility. It's a responsibility we take really seriously. We stand before you – old, young, black white, brown – and we are all united in our commitment. We recognize that it's not just business as usual, and we are going to work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting with our own community, and we are going to work really hard to prevent this kid of tragedy from happening again.
"Thank you all for your patience and have a good night."