With the presidential election just around the corner, the Sacramento Kings have partnered with the Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, Indiana Pacers and Fever, Dallas Mavericks and Wings, and Cleveland Cavaliers for their third annual "Team Up for Change" summit.
The Kings livestream the virtual event on Wednesday, which included guest speakers like NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, Kings chairman Vivek Randivé as well as Kings forward Harrison Barnes and his wife Brittany.
The summit is an opportunity to have thoughtful discussions on race, politics and where sports fits into a complex world.
In a conversation with former Kings shooting guard and current NBA analyst Doug Christie, the Barnes’ discussed a myriad of topics, including voting rights and potential voter suppression in the upcoming election.
“I think sometimes it’s really subtle,” Brittany said. “It’s not always very obvious, like shutting down poll booths or [closing them] a little earlier or locking people out, which we’ve seen those things before. Sometimes it’s just as subtle as making the language complicated so people feel intimidated to come to the poll booth.”
We are in unprecedented times in America. Not only is a global pandemic still raging through the country, but the tension between politics and social unrest has the nation in a confusing place.
For the Barnes’, they know they have a platform and they are using this opportunity to be part of a larger conversation that is sweeping the nation.
“When we take off that uniform and we walk out of the stadium, we’re citizens just like everyone else,” Harrison said. “All the struggles that are going on outside of basketball still affect us and our communities as well.”
Earlier this summer, the Barnes’ walked through the streets of Sacramento as part of a peaceful protest. Harrison even took to the microphone to say a few words to a crowd estimated between 20,000 and 30,000 to promote the value of voting in the coming election.
“A lot of people feel like, well, maybe my vote doesn’t matter, maybe there are other people who will do the job,” Harrison added. “No, it’s on each and every one of us to go out there and do it.”
The Barnes’ aren’t strangers to voicing their views. They have been part of the discussion on race and equality in America for a while. They have also invested an incredible amount of time and money into the communities they have spent time in.
Harrison was recently named to the inaugural NBA Foundation board of directors. He was also one of five players recognized for the NBA Cares Community Assist Award.
If you would like more information on the Team Up for Change Summit or would like to watch the discussion in its entirety, go to Kings.com.