The Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings are to be participating in games at prisons in order to raise awareness about issues within the American justice system. They will be the first NBA teams in league history to participate in basketball games at correctional facilities, per the Undefeated. Both teams partnered with The Represent Justice Campaign who will be organizing the games.
The Represent Justice Campaign started a Play For Justice initiative that the Kings and Bucks will be a part of. The coaches and players will have the opportunity to converse with incarcerated individuals and serve as honorary coaches. Last night the Sacramento Kings hosted the first game at Folsom State Prison, according to the NBA.
“We’re proud to be the first participant in the Play for Justice initiative, which is shining a bright light on the unique issues facing incarcerated people in communities around the country,” said Vivek Ranadivé, chairman, CEO and governor of the Kings. “Sports franchises have a unique opportunity to bring about positive change, which is why in the past year, the Kings and the Bucks brought together leaders from across two cities to share best practices and find new solutions to social injustices. This collaboration with Represent Justice is another example of how we can use our platforms for good.”
Milwaukee will host another game later this month in Wisconsin. Bucks guards Sterling Brown and George Hill will be participating in the games. The Undefeated reported that Nike is donating sneakers that will be mailed to the inmates’ families as they are not allowed to keep the items while imprisoned. Their families and friends are invited to attend the event as well.
“My teammates, coaches and I are honored to take part in this unique criminal justice initiative to hear the stories of our community members and the challenges they face on a daily basis,” said Brown. “We are looking forward to sharing in this experience with them while also identifying how we can further this important conversation nationwide through basketball.”
The Kings and Bucks will also partner up and host an event together on February 10.
The Represent Justice Campaign X The NBA
According to the NBA, The campaign organized the Play for Justice initiative to “advance the goals of uplifting narratives of hope and redemption to break down stigmas associated with individuals – disproportionately people of color and the poor – who are impacted by the criminal justice system and aim to humanize incarcerated individuals in the media and public opinion.” Their goal is to bring awareness to issues within the justice system and to use the platform that these NBA teams have to spark conversations and actions to “demand a fair legal system, dignity for system-impacted communities, and an end to extreme sentencing.”
“I’ve joined the Represent Justice Campaign because after being sentenced to life in prison and now free, I want people to see that I am the reflection, not the exception, of humanity that’s hidden inside our prison walls. In starting and leading a successful justice reform organization, I want to share my story so that redemption and second chances are driving values in the effort to reform our legal system,” said Adnan Khan, a REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign surrogate, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Re:Store Justice.
Other NBA teams to participate in the campaign will be announced in 2020.