The Sacramento Kings and Milwaukee Bucks are set to be the first NBA teams to participate in games at correctional facilities, The Undefeated reports.
The games, organized by the Represent Justice Campaign, will involve incarcerated individuals at an "undisclosed prison in Northern California," according to the sports site. The Kings will host the first game on February 10. NBA players and coaches will act as honorary coaches for the campaign’s Play For Justice initiative. The primary goal of the partnership is to "highlight stories of hope and redemption, as well as break down stigmas associated with individuals — primarily people of color and the poor — impacted by the criminal justice system."
"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,” Vivek Ranadivé, chairman and CEO of the Kings, told The Undefeated. “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."
More NBA teams will be involved in the initiative in the coming year.
“There is immense potential to connect people with different life experiences and backgrounds through the collaboration of sport. Play for Justice is one hopeful step in the process of restoring dignity and mercy to the people in our criminal justice system,” Scott Budnick, founder and CEO of One Community and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, said in a statement. “We’re thankful for the participating players who are using their talents to take a stand for a fair legal system, amplifying the stories of incarcerated folks, and inspiring their team members, their fans and the larger sports community to do the same.”
The Undefeated also reports that Nike will donate sneakers for the game to the incarcerated players and others who are involved with the initiative.