On Jan. 6, the Sacramento Kings announced the launch of a yearlong effort to promote the importance of mentorship, including a $25,000 commitment to MENTOR California. Tipping off the year in January, National Mentoring Month, the Kings will recruit a total of 120 new mentors in 2021 (10 per month) to be matched with mentees, host five virtual mentoring sessions for a combined 300 area youth, provide community resources and honor a dedicated mentor with a Community Impact Award.

“Mentorship can have a profound impact on communities by greatly enhancing the opportunities available to young people in school, the workplace and beyond,” said Kings Chief Operating Officer Matina Kolokotronis. “Our partnership with MENTOR California will help to increase the number of mentors in our region while providing the valuable training and necessary support needed for both the mentor and mentee to achieve long-term success.”

“Our partners at the Sacramento Kings understand that mentorship is key to building strong, healthy young people,” said MENTOR California President and CEO Marcus Strother. “We’re thrilled they’re engaging our statewide mentoring collective with such a significant investment in our communities.”

In January, youth and mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters will have the opportunity to engage in a virtual session with Kings representatives about the role mentors have played in their lives. The team plans to host four virtual sessions throughout the year. Later this month, with the support of the Kings, MENTOR California will host a speed mentoring event called “Amplified Mentoring.”

Throughout the month, the team will use their platforms to engage the community and encourage individuals, including their staff, to become a mentor.

The Kings are dedicated to highlighting the impact and benefits of mentorship. In October, as part of the Team Up for Change Week of Action, the Kings shared a series of videos on their social channels from players and coaches, including Kings guard Kyle Guy, forward Jabari Parker, guard-forward DaQuan Jeffries and Player Development Assistant Coaches Bobby Jackson and Lindsey Harding, thanking their mentors and promoting Mentor California’s #ThankYourMentor campaign that launched in November.

Additionally, for the past three years, the Kings, in partnership with the Build.Black.Coalition and the Black Child Legacy Campaign, have hosted Kings and Queens Rise, the highly successful co-ed youth sports and mentoring league, which seeks to prevent and interrupt violence by providing a caring, productive environment through community building, sportsmanship, and health and safety resources. This year, the league moved from weekly basketball games in various neighborhoods throughout Sacramento to virtual basketball with NBA 2K and socially distanced, in-person golf training due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and included several virtual mentor sessions with pro golfers. In July 2019, the Kings hosted a Career Mentoring session with Kings Legend Chris Webber and youth associated with Build.Black.