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Vivek Ranadive and the Kings take leadership in community building

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Vivek Ranadive addressing the crowds at the Golden One Center, just before the game, in light of Stephon Clark shooting. Photo: Sacramento Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Diya TV) — In a rare step for a professional sports franchise, the Sacramento Kings and their majority owner Vivek Ranadive are engaging in the contentious national debate over gun violence and the disproportionate amount of deaths of African-American men at the hands of law enforcement.

“We here at the Kings recognize that we have a big platform. It’s a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously. We stand here before old, young, black, white, brown and we are all united in our commitment,” said Ranadive.

The Indian-American tech entrepreneur turned NBA franchise owner made those remarks on center court surrounded by his team after the Kings’ sparsely attended matchup with the Atlanta Hawks on March 22nd. The start of the game was delayed by 19 minutes because of protests over the police involved shooting March 18th of 22-year-old Stephon Clark. Thousands of fans were turned away from the arena because of rancor.

Clark was unarmed and holding a cell phone in his hands while in his grandparents’ backyard when he was killed. Of the 20 rounds fired, eight of them hit Clark, primarily in the back, according to an independent autopsy conducted by renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu.

Sacramento police say the shooting was in self-defense after Clark advanced towards them and ignored their orders to stop. He also had previous run-ins with the law and stood accused that night of breaking into cars.

Ranadive and the Kings are not taking sides, but merely entering the fray has left them vulnerable to criticism at this politically contentious time. Yet that reality has not deterred the team and their owner for being proactive in their support of this grieving community.

The Kings announced an education fund for the children of Stephon Clark and new partnerships with Black Lives Matter Sacramento and the Build.Black. Coalition in an effort to deeply invest in Sacramento’s black youth.

In addition, the NBA community has stood behind Ranadive.

“It was really cool to see the Sacramento community really stand behind each other. And it was really cool to see how Vivek handled it the other night with his address to the crowd,” said Golden State Warriors Guard Klay Thompson.

“I was very proud the way the Kings handled it and the way the NBA handled it.
And I thought Vivek’s words afterwords were beautiful,” remarked Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr.

Ranadive has shown a unique flare for community building since joining the NBA’s ownership ranks. He introduced Bollywood Night to the association when he was co-owner and Vice Chair of the Golden State Warriors and brought the tradition to Sacramento upon becoming the Kings majority owner. It’s become an event the growing Indian community has come to relish.

“I think Vivek is doing a really good job in the sense of promoting that and saying that hey, there’s opportunities like this to come and share a big stage with many talented people, with the basketball players and what not. So I think it’s a really good opportunity for everybody,” said Preet Chahal of “Dance In You” Academy.

“It’s a special privilege for me to be able to do this. To be able to give a shout out to the country of my birth,” said Ranadive.

In our exclusive interview, Ranadive told us why — as one of the few minority owners in sports — he’s speaking up when few in his position would do so.

“We’ve always had the belief, when I bought the franchise, that I had this vision of NBA 3.0. And it was about using technology. It was about being global, which we’ve done. But it was also about using basketball as an agent of good and as an agent of change.”

While he’s still finding his place in the hyper-competitive NBA, it’s clear this changemaker in the tech world is using his words and deeds to make a lasting mark on the Capitol City.

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Bucks bycott Game 5 in wake of Jacob Blake shooting, NBA season now in limbo

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Milwakee Bucks issue a statement

ORLANDO, Florida (Diya TV) — As the video of George Flyod’s killing spread across social media, the Black Lives Matter movement grew stronger & folks took to the streets to protest against police brutality. The NBA’s coronavirus-halted season resumed last month in Orlando. This Sunday, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a police officer shot Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, seven times in the back.

Outraged, the Milwaukee Bucks players, decided to boycott Game 5 of the playoff series against the Orlando Magic. They forfiet the game, but the Magic refused to accept the Bucks’ forfeit and instead, both teams stood united, and the Bucks called Wisconsin’s Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor during “game time”.

The news spread quickly and other teams followed suit, notably the Rockets and Thunder, after Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul discussed the boycott.

Coincidently, four years ago today, former 49er Colin Kaepernick first kneeled during the national anthem. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell finally said that he that he wished they “had listened to Kaepernick earlier.” Kaepernick, who was essentially exiled from the league, has been receiving a lot of praise after today’s boycott.

The players took the “game time” to call the Attorney General Josh Kaul & Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.

Twittersphere saw a barrage of reactions from players, coaches to former president Barack Obama

The 29-year-old, Jacob Blake was shot repeatedly in the back as he attempted to get into his car, while his three children sat inside. Protests have erupted in Kenosha since the shooting, with two people killed after a teenager opened fire on demonstrators with an assault rifle on Tuesday.

After the historic walkout, a players meeting was organized that continued past midnight in Orlando & sources say there was some frustration in the meeting among the players with the Bucks blindsiding everyone with their walk-out plan. Bucks’ guard, George Hill admitted he first sparked conversation pregame to boycott and his teammates supported.

As the teams voted on the status of the season, the LA Clippers & LA Lakers voted to boycott the NBA season, with LeBron James walking out of the meeting. He was soon followed by all the players from the LA teams.

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India, Pakistan spar over women’s rights in Kashmir

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India

NEW YORK (Diya TV)  — At the United Nations, both India and Pakistan’s representatives took shots at their counterpart over women’s rights. Islamabad’s outgoing envoy to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, said the women in Jammu and Kashmir were suffering due to the communication blackout in the state. India’s First Secretary to the UN Paulomi Tripathi said, without naming Pakistan, these “baseless statements” were ironic given the amount of honor killings that take place there annually.

Rajeev Majumdar is the new president of the Washington State Bar Association, becoming the first state bar president of South Asian descent in the United States.

For the first time, India entered the ranks of the top ten countries sending visitors to the United States, with tourists from India spending nearly $16 billion in the U.S. in 2018 alone.

And while the Kings and Pacers played two entertaining games in Mumbai, their legacy will include supporting five under-resourced schools in and around the region, outfitting them with Smart Classrooms, STEM training and new basketball courts.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Gandhi 150th birth anniversary noted around the world

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Birth Anniversary

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) —  Celebrations for Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary have been ongoing for the past year, but culminated with a ceremony in New Delhi featuring Prime Minister Modi and another in Washington at the Library of Congress. And France’s government worked with the Indian Embassy there to issue a stamp in honor of his birth anniversary.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal are meeting this week to continue the US-India discussion on trade and investment.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb came to New Delhi to strengthen ties between the Hoosier State and India. Infosys has already made a large commitment there. Holcomb is part of a large delegation of Americans now heading Mumbai to take in the first-ever NBA preseason games in India featuring the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings.

Bollywood turned Hollywood actor Anupam Kher came to the Bay Area to keynote the Akshay Patra annual fundraising gala that helps feed children in India a hot meal during the school year.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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