Bucks, Kings to Take Part in Represent Justice's Basketball Games in Prisons

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2019

A basketball court is seen at a former prison in Drahonice, Czech Republic, Friday, Oct. 2, 2015. Anticipating a possible influx of migrants in the country, the Czech Republic is turning the prison into a new detention center for up to 240 of them. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Petr David Josek/Associated Press

The Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings are each set to take on a major role in the Represent Justice campaign's Play for Justice initiative. 

According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, players and coaches will participate in basketball games at correctional facilities starting this month, serving as honorary coaches while also having conversations with incarcerated individuals.

The Kings will be the first team to host a Play For Justice event Thursday at a prison in Northern California. The Bucks will host a later event in Milwaukee.

Sacramento head coach Luke Walton is expected to play in the first event, while Trevor Ariza is expected to coach one of the teams. Bucks guard Sterling Brown—who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department and city of Milwaukee after officers used excessive force while arresting him in 2018—will be in attendance for the second event in Wisconsin.

Kings co-owner Vivek Ranadive discussed his organization's role in the campaign:

"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. 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."

The NBA announced its partnership with the Represent Justice campaign Thursday, with the hope of attempting to "engage audiences and spark collective action to demand a fair legal system, dignity for system-impacted communities and an end to extreme sentencing." Other NBA and WNBA teams are expected to participate in the initiative and will be announced later this month and in the beginning of 2020, per Jenna West of Sports Illustrated.

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The Represent Justice campaign and the Play for Justice initiative set goals of "uplifting narratives of hope and redemption, in order to break down stigmas associated with individuals—disproportionately people of color and the poor—who are impacted by the criminal justice system."