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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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Sacramento Kings embrace Indian following

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Diya TV) —Hoping to capitalize on and embrace a Global market, the Sacramento Kings announced new jerseys, court emblems and decor that honors India and China.

Believed to be the first major sports franchise to include Hindu letters in any attire or decor, part of the Kings alternative court design for the 2017-18 season “reflects the design elements of the team’s global marks, including new logos specific to India and China.”

A team press release says, “as part of the franchise’s mission, the team strives to make basketball the premier sport of the 21st century beyond traditional borders.”

The team will use the customizable floor through the season when wearing the Global Uniform at home, geared at creating an “authentic connection with emerging international basketball audiences, from the court up through jerseys, apparel and more.”

During the team’s biggest global celebrations, Bollywood and Lunar New Year theme nights, interchangeable panels featuring a new regional logo – a Kings crown featuring the team’s name in Hindi or Mandarin – will be added to the floor. The Kings will also use these marks, in addition to the primary logo in future India and China endeavors.

For other games, the team’s global crest – a heralding lion, a symbol of leadership and strength recognized around the world – will remain at center court. The granite “S”, inspired by the city’s flag showing the inseparable link between the community and team, will wrap around the floor along the apron.

Bay Area software tycoon, Indian-American Vivek Ranadive is co-owner and chairman of the Kings. Prior to that, he was co-owner and vice chairman of the Golden State Warriors.

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Will the Warriors pull off a historic 16-0 sweep at the NBA Finals?

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Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers  getting ready for a layup during Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals.

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio. (Diya TV) — With one more victory, the 2017 Golden State Warriors will forever be in the discussion as the greatest team in NBA history. All that’s standing in their way is LeBron James, a man trying to secure his own legacy, and the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Leading the charge is Kevin Durant, the Warriors’ prized offseason acquisition, who is likely to win his first NBA Finals MVP award.

“All I was looking at was the bottom of the net. I saw he (James) was playing his heels behind the 3-point line. I’ve been working on that shot my whole life. To see that go in, that was liberating, man,” said Durant after his game-winning shot in Game 3.

Game 3 featured the high drama we expected in this series: the most lead changes (19), and the closest game so far in the 2017 NBA Finals (5 point Warriors win). The question now is if the Warriors can reach 16-0 this postseason, the first one in NBA history.

For the Cavaliers, Durant’s shot from downtown was a wake up call, reminding them that no game is out of reaching for the hungry Warriors. Icing out the Cavs, the Warriors went on an 11-0 run throughout the last few minutes of the game, despite stellar performances by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

The Warriors took the lead in the first quarter and maintained that until halftime. After James went to rest late in first quarter, the Warriors went on a 10-0 run. In the first two games of the series, the Warriors increased their lead in the third quarter. But in Game 3, it was the Cavs who shined in the 3rd. When the Warriors led 67-59, the Cavaliers came back to take the lead heading into the 4th. Kyrie Irving had 16 points in the third quarter, while Cleveland held Golden State to 22 points.

The Cavs nursed that lead until the final stretch of the 4th quarter, when KD and 2015 NBA Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala made their presence felt. Iguodala blocked James in the game’s final minute, forcing a turnover on a possession when the Cavs were down three.

History is Made

LeBron James is now 4th place on the NBA Finals scoring list (1,175 points), behind Michael Jordan (1,176 points). He also became the first player to play in 20 or more Finals games with two franchises. The Warriors are the 13th team with a 3-0 record in the finals. The have set the longest postseason record for most wins in America’s 4 major sports, breaking the record set by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL, (14-0). Stephen Curry has hit at least one 3-pointer per game in his 73 career postseason games. Golden State also broke the record for most 3-pointer made in a quarter of the finals, with 9 in the first quarter.

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands on the court with Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors.

What’s next?

The Cavaliers are trying to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the Finals, something that’s never been done before. When asked about the Warriors, LeBron said, “I’ve played against some great teams, but I don’t think no team has had this type of firepower.”

James and Irving played extended minutes in Game 3, and many believe fatigue played a role down the stretch. Warriors coach Steve Kerr noted, “I think Kyrie and LeBron both played the entire second half. Maybe they got a few seconds’ rest, and that’s a hard thing to do.”

The Warriors, on the other hand, are looking to secure their fifth NBA title in franchise history.

With last year’s loss still fresh in mind, the Warriors are not getting ahead of themselves.. “We talked about it since the Finals last year that the last season was a very unique year, for a lot of different reasons, and we learned a lot. I think we have grown and matured just mentally of how to just pace yourself through this long year and take every day as a new experience and something that you can kind of take control of.” said Curry on last year’s loss.

Durant, so close to winning his first NBA finals said, “I never been in this position before. I don’t want to relax. It’s not over. This is a crazy game. Anything can happen. So I don’t want to relax or feel like it’s over, it’s not.”

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Warriors crack the code to Cavs defense in Game 2, can they do it in Game 3?

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Lebron James tries to guard JaVale McGee at the basket, Game 3 NBA Finals 2017

Lebron James tries to guard JaVale McGee at the basket, Game 3 NBA Finals 2017

OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — In Sunday’s game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals, the Warriors slowly disarmed the Cavaliers, finishing them off 132-113, thanks to a NBA Finals record 18 three-pointers. Steve Kerr set the tempo for the Warriors, after missing eleven postseason games with an illness, ensuring the offensive sets would create more open looks for mad bombers Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

The Cavaliers took the lead early in the game, but it fell out of their grasp halfway through the period and they were never to regain it. The Cavs did pull within 3, 67-64, at halftime. But the Warriors claimed the third quarter for themselves. In the end, the Warriors balanced attack was too much and the 2015 NBA Champions now have a 2-0 series advantage in this best of 7 game battle against the defending champs.

Steve Kerr returns

Steve Kerr returned to the bench after missing eleven games, with a warm welcome from the Oracle crowd. Kerr requested Curry, “to play with passion and play with joy.” Curry said, “We love his presence. We love his voice. And we’re a full group when he’s out here, so that means a lot.” LeBron James also paid respect to Steve Kerr, welcoming him back before the game began. Kerr has been dealing with back problems for 2 years, but has persevered through it. The reigning NBA Coach of the Year said he plans to coach for the rest of the finals, though his future is uncertain.

Making History

There was more history made on Sunday night. LeBron James tied Magic Johnson for most triple-doubles in the finals with 8. He is also only a few points behind to getting sixth place on the all-time NBA Finals scoring list. James had never had more assists in a half during a postseason game than on Sunday, with 10 assists, also becoming the first person in 20 years to have double-digit assists in a first half of a playoff game.

LeBron James of the Cavaliers drives to the hoop against Andre Iguodala of the Warriors.

The Warriors made history, becoming 14-0 in the postseason, the longest postseason winning streak in the history of the NBA. Curry had his first career postseason triple-double. Kevin Durant had 3 steals and 3 blocks in the 1st half, the highest the first half of a postseason game since Shawn Marion in 2006. Golden State had their first Finals game where they scored at least 40 points in 50 years, the last one being in 1967 in game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers. Klay Thompson has played in 78 postseason games now, the highest in franchise history.

Moving forward

“I thought for the most part with the game plan that we had we tried to execute it as close as possible. Much more physical today than we were in Game 1. And we forced them to 20 turnovers and they still beat us pretty good, so we’ve got to be much better, too.” said LeBron James, after the game. The Cavaliers played much better during game 2, forcing the Warriors to twenty turnovers (Curry with 8).  Yet, they could not pull the win off, losing their lead about halfway through the first quarter. Defense is the difference. Cleveland had a much better offense than last game, with 113 points, but still lost because they had no answers to stop the Warriors. Still, as James said, the Cavaliers were more aggressive during Game 2 than Game 1 and you can expect more of the same in Game 3.

The Warriors now need to cut down on turnovers. Klay Thompson, who broke out of his slump with 22 points and four 3-pointers, will need to keep up that level of production as the series moves to a hostile Cleveland environment. Curry and Durant have been nothing short of outstanding, combining 65 points, 24 rebounds, and 17 assists in Game 2.

Kerr says with the Warriors loss in the 2016 NBA Finals after being up 3 games to one, they have their series lead in perspective.

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