Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said the organization was honored Tuesday to receive the 2019 NBA Inclusion Innovation Award, which recognizes innovative programs that advance inclusive practices.
The Kings received the award for their efforts to support area youth and promote healing in the Sacramento community following the death of Stephon Clark, who was fatally shot by police during a foot pursuit in March 2018.
The shooting sparked protests that shut down city streets, freeways and Golden 1 Center, preventing fans from entering the arena for a game against the Atlanta Hawks and delaying the start of the contest. Ranadive and Kings players went to center court and addressed about 2,000 fans who were able to get into the arena, voicing sympathy for Clark’s family and vowing to help “bring everybody together.”
The organization subsequently partnered with Build. Black., a group of community leaders organized to support transformational change for black communities in Sacramento, in an effort to bring about social change. The multiyear partnership was intended to invest in black youth and help the community heal with an emphasis on education, workforce preparedness and economic development efforts for young people from disadvantaged areas, the team said.
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Kings players and staff have engaged in youth healing forums, education workshops and the Kings and Queens Rise youth basketball league. The team has also established partnerships with the Black Child Legacy Campaign and Kaiser Permanente to get young people involved in sports.
“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,” Ranadive said. “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.”