The nominations for ESPN’s sixth annual Sports Humanitarian Awards were released today, and the Sacramento Kings were honored as one of the finalists for Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year.
The Kings were the lone NBA team nominated for the award alongside the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Denver Broncos, and New York City FC. Each finalist is given a $25,000 grant for the charity of their choice, and ESPN awards the winning team an additional $100,000 to benefit its chosen organization.
Sacramento was recognized for its work with Build.Black in response to the shooting of Stephon Clark in 2018. Protests around the arena led the Kings to take action and partner with Black Lives Matter as well other organizations are committed to social justice issues.
The ESPN release highlights the efforts the team has led and been a part of over the last two years:
After Sacramento was devastated by the tragic shooting of an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark, by police in March 2018, Sacramento Kings owner, Vivek Ranadivé heard the cries for action and committed that the team would work alongside the community to prevent future tragedies. The team created a multi-year partnership with Build.Black., a coalition formed to transform Black communities with deep investment in Black youth. Over the last two years, Kings players and staff have participated in youth healing forums, STEM education and mentoring workshops, and a co-ed youth basketball league, all focused on using sport as an agent for change. The Kings also partnered with the Milwaukee Bucks to host Team Up for Change, a first-of-its-kind, daylong summit designed to address social justice issues. Together with Build.Black, the team has held more than 40 events and hosted nearly 2,500 area youth associated with the coalition, transforming the lives of countless youth across the city. The Kings also visited Folsom State Prison to tip off a series of basketball games and thoughtful conversations between incarcerated persons, players and coaches aimed at breaking down stigmas associated with individuals, disproportionately people of color and the poor, who are impacted by the criminal justice system.
In addition to these works, the Kings have taken a leadership role in helping Sacramento persevere through the coronavirus pandemic through their “In This Together” initiative. The organization has donated food and medical supplies while turning their old arena into a surge hospital, continuing a pattern of philanthropic deeds.
The Sports Humanitarian Awards will be held remotely on June 21 alongside the 2020 ESPYs. The ceremony will benefit the V Foundation and the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund.