Before the Sacramento Kings and Milwaukee Bucks faced off on the court Monday, the two teams held their second installment of the "Team Up for Change" initiative over the last couple of days in Milwaukee.
On Sunday, the two clubs hosted 1,000 local community members for a screening of Just Mercy, the story of attorney Bryan Stevenson and his client Walter McMillan, who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1988.
Following the screening, the two teams held a panel Monday morning led by Kings vice-chairman Paul Jacobs, Sierra Health Foundation President and CEO Chet P. Hewitt, Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry and Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry, which was moderated by Marc Spears from The Undefeated.
“The NBA has this platform, it has the demographics in its fanbase,” Jacobs said during the panel. “It's a global game. It has a very broad opportunity to spread the word. It's the right thing for us to do, and that's why we do it.”
The two cities underwent similar social uprisings in the last few years. Sacramento had to play two home games under lockdown after the officer-involved shooting death of Stephon Clark on Mar. 18, 2018. Milwaukee faced social unrest after the officer-involved tasing of Bucks guard Sterling Brown on Jan. 26, 2018.
Since the two incidents, both teams have worked to involve themselves in the conversation surrounding social injustice in our society. They have attempted to open the lines of communication regarding race and inequality, using their platforms to promote healthy change.
“It's turning a spotlight where people don't want a spotlight,” Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry told the audience. “The more you put that spotlight on, it's more about getting that information out and making more and more people aware. That's the goal of what we're trying to do.”
Both the Bucks and Kings are working with community leaders with the goal of being a conduit of change through conversation, workshops and outreach.
“For us, when you own a team you have a responsibility and commitment to the community, and that community is everybody. We try to continue to foster that relationship,” Marc Lasry said.
Grateful to have been able to be a part of such a great event that helps keep the important discussions going in our communities. Big thank you to my friend @pfeigin and @Bucks for hosting. Together we will continue to Unite Inspire and Activate. #TeamUpForChange https://t.co/o9VxJq6uZ0— John Rinehart (@JohnRKings) February 10, 2020
This isn’t the last we’ll see of this initiative. The Kings and Bucks are active in their communities overall and they both have made this one of their priorities. They have a voice and they are choosing to extend resources to an issue that is a hot-button issue in their communities.