Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks Play Game Despite Protests Outside of Golden 1 Center
Facility Locked Down Due To Protest Of Police-Involved Shooting of South Sacramento Man
The look in Golden 1 Center 10 minutes before tipoff the the game played between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks in Sacramento, Calif. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey. March. 22, 2018.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. — Two police officers gunned down Stephon Clark in the backyard of his grandmother’s house in South Sacramento a few days ago, and Golden 1 Center sort of paid the price.
The Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks played to practically an empty house at Golden 1 Center on Thursday. Officials at G1C had to lock down the facility due to protesters outside. Just after tipoff, the NBA made the decision not to cancel the game.
In a facility that can seat 17,500, only 2,400 were able to witness the contest. The Kings (24-49) won 105-90. The Stephon Clark protesters, who shut down the freeways near downtown Sacramento, won too.
“On (March 18) we had a horrific, horrific tragedy in our community,” Sacramento Kings owner and chairman Vivek Ranadivé said at center court after the game. “On behalf of the players, the executives, ownership, and entire Kings family, I, first of all, wanted to express our deepest sympathies to the family. What happened was absolutely horrific and we are sorry for your loss.”
The protest was in response to the shooting of Clark, 23, a father of two young boys. Reports say Clark was shot about 20 times. He was unarmed and holding a cell phone. The police were responding to call of a male breaking windows of cars in the area.
The city mandates that videos and car-dash cameras are released within 60 days of officer-involved shootings. Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn, the first African American to hold the position for Sacramento, released videos of Clark shooting with 72 hours.
Sacramento Kings swingman Garrett Temple, a friend of Chief Hahn, said after the game that he has viewed the videos. Temple, who is one, if not the social activist on the Kings, was not pleased with all of what he observed.
“It was disturbing,” Temple said.
Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer sympathized with the city of Sacramento and what his team had walked in to. He was warned that the game may not have happened at all. But was alright with the decision that was made.
“I think it was the right decision by the league,” Budenholzer said. “But certainly not an easy one. We’re all concerned about our communities and what happens in our world. Want good things and want it to get better. I think there's a great appreciation for the Sacramento players and our players. The crowd here appreciated them and their efforts.”
The protesters, diverse in nature, were conducting marches around Sacramento City Hall and Cesar Chavez Park earlier in the day before they moved their focus to Golden 1 Center, which is about a few blocks away in downtown Sacramento.
The protesters locked arms around Golden 1 Center, using bullhorns to voice their opinions about the shooting, the most controversial incident since the Sacramento police shot and killed Joseph Mann, also Black and unarmed, in North Sacramento two years ago.
Atlanta Hawks (21-51) rookie Tyler Dorsey played in Golden 1 Center a year ago this month in the NCAA Tournament with the Oregon Ducks. He knows the excitement G1C brings, but this time around was a somber mood.
“It was a serious situation that happened in this town. I played in this building last year,” Dorsey said. “I know it hurts and it ’s hard to play a basketball game knowing what's going on. It was tough for us as a team. But the NBA felt it was best we play this game.”
Kings Rookie Justin Jackson, who had 20 points in the victory, said he was just trying to stay upbeat for the who game while all the commotion was outside.
“It definitely throws you off,” Jackson said. “And then it throws you off going out there and seeing all those seats empty. You know why. I think we did a good job of trying to stay as locked in as we could and came out with the win.”
PUBLIC INFORMATION: | Martha Brodbeck has been a Sacramento Kings season-ticket holder for nine years.
She arrived at the Kings v. Atlanta Hawks game about 6:00 p.m., but did not enter until 15 minutes later when the protesters arrived. She's disabled, so she has to get her early.
Ms. Brodbeck usually sits in the upper level of Section 123 in Golden 1 Center. Officials at G1C asked fans to come down to fill lower bowl. Ms. Brodbeck moved all the way down close to the basketball court.
MARTHA BRODBECK: "It's terrific. I was thrilled. It's my first time seeing the game at this angle. I love these seats. I entered through VIP because I am disabled. I was able to get in. But I wasn't sure what was going on out there. I'm not into political stuff. It’s also nice for the kids who don’t come down this close too. It was like Disneyland to them."
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.