Sacramento Kings

How the Kings, Bucks, OutKast and more are uniting in fight against social injustice

Sacramento Kings and Milwaukee Bucks will ‘Team Up for Change’

The Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks will host a 'Team Up for Change' social justice summit Feb. 27 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
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The Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks will host a 'Team Up for Change' social justice summit Feb. 27 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

The Kings have been trying to something bigger than basketball in the community. Now they’re getting some big-time help.

The team will host “Team Up for Change” with the Milwaukee Bucks – a daylong summit aimed at addressing social injustice starting at 9 a.m. Feb. 27 at Golden 1 Center. That night, the Kings will host the Bucks in their first home game since Feb. 10.

The innovative partnership, led by the Kings, aims to unite, inspire and activate community leaders, law enforcement and youth advocates from both cities by highlighting local and national perspectives from advocates for social justice and equality. With a focus on the intersection between sports, race and the pursuit of more equitable communities, the event seeks to serve as a model for how sports teams can address issues of injustice.

Top executives from both clubs spoke on the partnership.

“We believe it is our responsibility to use our platform to make the world a better place starting right here with our communities,” Vivek Ranadive, Kings owner and chairman, said in a news release. “Basketball has the power to bring people together by bridging racial, gender and economic divides. Through the ‘Team Up for Change’ effort, we are committed to continuing to work with the community to support and encourage collective action for change.”

“We’re proud to work with the Kings to bring both our communities together to identify creative solutions to the challenging issues we face,” Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry said in the same news release. “Our two organizations are dedicated to sparking real action through candid and open discussions and the ‘Team Up for Change’ initiative will make an important impact as we strive to make a difference.”

Big Boi, half of the Grammy-winning hip-hop duo OutKast, is the keynote speaker. He’ll also perform at halftime. He’s used his platform to help young people in underserved communities through his Big Kidz Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing socially conscious youth.

The “Team Up for Change” program will include speakers and a luncheon designed to lift up voices working toward encouraging positive change. It will be streamed live on the Kings’ Facebook page.

Along with Ranadive, Big Boi and Lasry, there will be several speakers at the event. Among those scheduled to appear include Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and Doug Christie, the former Kings guard who’s now the color commentator on television broadcasts.

During Big Boi’s halftime performance, there will be video tributes to significant black history moments and a showcase featuring black-owned businesses. The Kings Foundation will also present the Build.Black. Coalition with an award for its efforts to bring about positive impacts throughout the Sacramento region. More than 100 local youth will have an opportunity to interact with the summit speakers and executives from both teams before the contest.

“Team Up for Change” is an extension of the Kings’ commitment to giving back, engaging the community in conversation and lifting the work of local leaders, public officials and others working to improve Sacramento.

In March 2018, the police killing of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man, prompted protests in Sacramento. Ranadive heard the cries for action, took to the court and made a commitment that the Kings, who strongly believe in the power of sports to bring people together, would work alongside the community to help prevent future tragedies.

The Kings entered a multiyear partnership with the Build.Black. Coalition to invest in black youth. Kings players and staff have participated in forums, STEM education workshops and a co-ed youth basketball league, Kings and Queens Rise, all focused on using sport as an agent for change. These community efforts were recognized with the 2019 NBA Inclusion Innovation Award and the Robert T. Matsui Community Service Award.

The “Team Up for Change” effort – presented by healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente – is a part of NBA Voices, the NBA’s initiative to address social injustice, promote inclusion, uplift voices and bridge divides in local communities.

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Noel Harris is a sports reporter for The Sacramento Bee, with a focus on the Kings. He’s been in professional journalism for more than 18 years. His roles have included sports editor at The Modesto Bee and news editor at two smaller California newspapers, as well as online producer and copy editor.