NBA and WNBA Teams Come Together to Host Fourth Installment of Award-Winning Social Justice Initiative “Team Up for Change"
The Sacramento Kings, in partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, Indiana Pacers and Fever, Dallas Mavericks and Wings, Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, LA Clippers and San Antonio Spurs will host the fourth installment of “Team Up for Change” to unite, inspire and activate around a shared commitment and call for racial equality and social justice. Through interactive and educational programming, the thirteen teams will focus on building with their respective communities and highlight the experience of young people through various programmatic elements that lift their voices.
“I am really proud of our collective efforts and our continued commitment to lift up our young Black leaders and invest in transformative and sustainable change,” said Sacramento Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé. “Through Team Up for Change we are working to provide the support and create an onramp for all youth to succeed, allowing young people to control their own narrative.”
“The Milwaukee Bucks are deeply committed to generating impactful change in our communities by empowering and championing our youth,” said Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum President Peter Feigin. “We are honored to continue our Team Up for Change partnership to advocate for transformational change in the fight for social, racial, and economic equity alongside many NBA and WNBA teams.”
This multi-faceted initiative has evolved to include The Huddle, an intimate conversation with a young person and NBA or WNBA player or coach and Week of Action (January 17-22) featuring community activations across the country in each team’s market.
“The evolution and impact of Team Up for Change speaks to the collective power our platforms hold,” said Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx CEO Ethan Casson. “It is an honor to work with so many organizations who are committed to racial equity, lifting up our communities, and inspiring tomorrow’s leaders. We look forward to this year’s programming from The Huddle to the Week of Action.”
“We are proud of the work we have done in Indiana to engage in our community and invest with greater intentionality to champion social justice and equality, and we are grateful for the steps the NBA has taken to support all teams in these efforts,” said Pacers Sports & Entertainment President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Fuson. “We all recognize much work remains to be done, and this year’s Team Up for Change partnership once again gives us the opportunity to learn from each other as our work evolves.”
The Huddle will feature an intimate experience using the game of basketball to connect through conversation and raise awareness around the need for continued and sustained action. Teams will host a unique, one-of-a-kind dialogue with a player or coach and a local young person (age 13 to 21) to discuss their vision and desires for the future, sharing their sense of purpose personally and within their community and their concerns and priorities in achieving social and racial equity. The Huddle will be shared on via the team’s social channels throughout the season. Teams will also have the opportunity to host a local community viewing event to bring together high school and college-aged students, youth advocates and community leaders to watch The Huddle and facilitate a discussion around themes and work being done in the region
During the Week of Action, teams will deepen connections with their communities by hosting micro-events for youth that spur dynamic conversations and promote healing with an emphasis on mentorship, career exploration, leadership training and advancing pathways to substantial economic mobility for future generations. These activations will take place in Sacramento, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Dallas, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Orlando, Los Angeles and San Antonio in partnership with community organizations and local leaders.
“The Dallas Wings are proud of our efforts and take great pride in raising awareness surrounding racial equality, social justice and providing vital educational programming to shine a light on this topic, as today’s young people continue to make a difference in this country and beyond,” said Dallas Wings President and CEO Greg Bibb. “We realize the work is just beginning and our team is fully committed to our local community and nationwide initiatives that will continue to push boundaries in order to combat systemic racism and social inequalities. It is our honor to work alongside these other first-class organizations and Team Up for Change to make long-lasting, impactful changes in the communities we call home.”
“We are proud to ‘team up’ once again with other NBA and WNBA teams to provide another platform for our community to engage in critical social justice conversations and education,” said Cleveland Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse CEO Len Komoroski. “We remain persistent in our efforts to utilize our resources to help create awareness around these important topics and drive racial equality in our community, as well as across the country. We are honored to “Team Up for Change” and stand with our NBA family to amplify the voices of those in need.”
"The Utah Jazz are excited to join with other franchises to Team Up for Change," said Utah Jazz President Jim Olson. "This shared commitment among NBA and WNBA teams will benefit youth in our communities and our collective efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion will make us stronger and better organizations.”
"The Orlando Magic look forward to working with our fellow NBA and WNBA teams to bring a voice to these issues,” said Orlando Magic Chief Executive Officer Alex Martins. “As our organization works towards making change in the realm of social justice and equality, we know it will take a team effort to raise awareness and bring a platform to those impacted. We are honored to join in the Team Up for Change efforts and be a small part of facilitating the conversation towards transformative social change."
“Our platforms and united voices are powerful pathways to raise awareness and drive action to impact meaningful change, especially around racial and social justice issues in our communities,” said LA Clippers Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Vice President of Community Relations and Player Programs Denise Booth. “We’re proud to join our colleagues to amplify the importance of equity and reform through the Team Up for Change social justice initiative.”
“Spurs Sports & Entertainment is committed to creating, amplifying and championing meaningful and generational impact in the communities where we live, learn, work and play,” said Spurs Sports and Entertainment Chief Impact Officer Dr. Kara Allen. “We are honored to partner with Team Up for Change and our NBA family to accomplish our shared goals of showing up for racial equality and social justice.”
In solidarity with communities nationwide, the goal of Team Up for Change is to shine a spotlight on local and national movement builders, faith-based leaders, young innovators and trusted experts while lifting up voices for future engagement, and hearing from team leadership on franchise commitments, all with a focus on the intersection between sports, race and the pursuit of more equitable communities. Programming will be designed to provide insight into social justice reform, strategies to combat systemic racism and showcase voices driving sustainable change.
Team Up for Change, which was first held in Sacramento in 2019, was started by the Kings in partnership with the Bucks and was born from each team’s encounter with injustice. In March 2018, the Sacramento community was rocked by the killing of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man, by police. Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé heard the cries for action, took to the court and made a commitment that the Kings, who strongly believe in the power of sports to bring people together, would work alongside the community to help prevent future tragedies.
In May 2018, the Bucks expressed steadfast support for guard Sterling Brown, who was tased and arrested in relation to a parking violation. The franchise committed to work with local leaders and organizations to foster safe neighborhoods and better the community.
In February 2020, the two teams once again partnered and hosted the second Team Up for Change in Milwaukee. The NBA recognized the Bucks and Kings for their Team Up for Change initiative by honoring the teams with the 2020 NBA Inclusion Innovation Award. The award recognizes a specific innovative program across the league that advances inclusive practices.
In October 2020, the Kings, in partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, Indiana Pacers and Fever, Dallas Mavericks and Wings, and Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the third “Team Up for Change” virtually.