By Michael Russo, The Associated Press The Sacramento Kings have one of the most recognizable faces in the NBA, but they’ve never been a team that could be described as a “team of color.”
They’re one of only five teams that haven’t had a black or brown coach in their history.
So what has the team been trying to achieve with a new black coach?
How do you describe a team with an identity as inclusive?
That’s the challenge for Sacramento as they try to prove themselves in the future with a roster filled with talented young players and a coaching staff that has been in place since last season.
“We are the Kings of diversity,” said Eric Kaman, the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations, in a statement.
“I believe that our diverse talent base will lead us to success in the years ahead.”
The team was led by former Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers when the franchise was in its infancy in 1996.
Rivers is credited with being one of several NBA coaches who brought diversity to the NBA in the late 1990s, when the league adopted the “All-Star Game” format and introduced player-elected captains.
“It’s a challenge because it is very difficult to come up with a term that can describe what it is to be a team of color,” said John Vollmer, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at Boston College.
The NBA’s diversity report, released in March, notes that in 2014, more than 20% of teams were comprised of more than one race or ethnicity.
The report also noted that in 2015, 49% of players on the roster were black, a figure that had remained steady since 2012.
“Inclusiveness is a challenge for any organization,” Kaman said.
“What we do is we look at every aspect of our team and we are open to any ideas that we have about the type of diversity we need.”
That diversity comes from a variety of ways, from coaches to players to fans to fans of the team to those fans.
“Our goal is to make sure that every single player on our roster is part of a team,” Kain said.
And, “the diversity we have on our team is based on the experiences and the experiences of every player on the team.”
Kaman noted that, despite the team having an identity of diversity, the majority of the players in the roster are black or Hispanic.
“As we look ahead, we’re going to be able to see how we can make sure we have a team as inclusive as we can,” he said.
For instance, Kings players were asked to sign an annual pledge that the team would treat all of its players equally and not discriminate against anyone.
The pledge includes a clause that said the team wouldn’t be involved in any way in the hiring, firing, promotion or dismissal of any member of the roster.
In addition, the pledge says the team will “take every measure to ensure that the rights of every member of our roster are respected.”
This week, the Kings were one of five teams in the league that decided to retire a member of their roster.
“This is a great day for the NBA.
We were the first NBA franchise to retire this year,” Kavan said.
The Kings also released a statement saying they had “received assurances that we will be able and will be fully committed to our commitment to create a culture of inclusion and diversity in all aspects of our basketball operations.”
“I’m so excited to be part of this new and exciting time in the history of our franchise and the Kings organization,” said Kings owner Vivek Ranadive.
“Being the first franchise to do so was very meaningful for me and the entire franchise.
I look forward to continuing our work and working with our fans to make this the best franchise in the world.”
The franchise has been one of sports’ biggest names in recent years, having captured a record six NBA championships in the past seven years.
The franchise also won a gold medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Sacramento is also one of three NBA teams that is set to become an NBA member next season.
The league has made strides to try to diversify its rosters, including adding a second season to the All-Star game and adding two more All-NBA teams in 2020 and 2022.
“There’s a lot of great things happening in our league,” Kavan said.
But Kaman and Ranadisive are also committed to finding ways to improve diversity within the NBA and their overall league, something they hope will lead to more diverse teams in future seasons.
The two also believe the league should be more inclusive, which has led to the addition of a new diversity committee.
“The goal is that we get to a point where every single one of our players is treated equally and the NBA is willing to listen to that,” Kamiya said.
Kaman also believes that, if the league continues to grow, there will be more diversity on the court.
“Hopefully we’ll have more teams where there are more