At a time when NFL owners and franchises seem to be attempting to distance themselves from protests, the NBA has continuously proven they are the most socially-aware league and coaches, owners and players have been outspoken about social issues that are impacting their communities.
That was once again the case on Thursday night ahead of a game between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks at Golden1 Center.
The game was delayed as protestors prevented fans from entering the arena. The crowd had gathered to protest the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man who was shot 20 times by police offers while in his grandmother’s backyard.
With the protests ongoing, Kings owner Vivek Ranadive took the court and delivered a message while being surrounded by his players. Ranadive sent his condolences to Clark’s family while supporting the protestors and calling for people to come together.
“We are so very sorry for your loss,” Ranadive said, as transcribed by ESPN.com. “We at the Kings recognize people’s abilities to protest peacefully, and we respect that. We here at the Kings realize that we have a big platform. It’s a privilege but it’s also a responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously, and we stand here before you, old, young, black, white, brown, and we are all united in our commitment.
“We recognize that it is 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 in our own community. We are going to work really hard to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again.”
The Kings went on to win the game, 105-90, but everyone agreed that basketball was secondary on what was an emotional and powerful night in Sacramento.