Last summer, the Kings helped launch a youth basketball league as part of an effort to bring change in Sacramento’s black community.
The event’s success has prompted a second season.
The Kings, in partnership with Build. Black. Coalition and Black Child Legacy Campaign, announced the return of Kings and Queens Rise. It’s a coed youth league which aims to curb violence through sports and provide a caring and positive environment for Sacramento youth through community building, sportsmanship and resources for health and safety.
The league is comprised of 16 teams from eight Sacramento-area neighborhoods – Arden Arcade, Del Paso Heights/North Sacramento, Foothill Farms/North Highlands, Fruitridge/Stockton, Marina Vista, Meadowview, Oak Park and Valley Hi. Each neighborhood will have two coed teams – one with seventh- and eighth-graders, and the other with ninth- and 10th-graders. There will be weekly games hosted in a different neighborhood, and the final day will feature a tournament at Golden 1 Center.
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“The inaugural season of Kings and Queens Rise demonstrated the powerful and profound impact sport has to create change beyond the court,” Kings chairman and owner Vivek Ranadive said in a statement. “We look forward to building on our progress by engaging even more youth and creating opportunities for open dialogue with the goal of fostering a stronger Sacramento community.”
The Kings joined forces with local groups like the Build. Black. Coalition and Black Lives Matter Sacramento last year after protests over the death of Stephon Clark blocked fans from two games in March 2018. Clark, an unarmed 22-year-old black man, was shot to death by Sacramento police in his grandparents’ backyard.
The team’s partnerships helped earn it the NBA Inclusion Innovation Award, which recognizes programs that advance inclusive practices. Ranadive spoke about the award when the Kings received it this month.
“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.”
Kings and Queens Rise allows young athletes the opportunity to learn basketball fundamentals in a fun and safe environment, with workshops designed to address topics such as mental health, conflict resolution and responsible social media use. Last season, Kings players and coaches participated and acted as guest coaches.
“The first season of Kings and Queens Rise provided a terrific opportunity for youth to cross community boundaries and learn not only the fundamentals of basketball but also teamwork,” said Chet P. Hewitt, Build. Black. Coalition co-founder. “We are excited to be continuing this effort with the Sacramento Kings, who continue to demonstrate leadership and a willingness to use their platform to show youth their potential for a healthy and productive future.”
More information about the league will be made available at blackchildlegacy.org.