The Los Angeles Lakers will host the team’s first-ever pride night on Thursday, Oct. 4, when the Lakers take on the Sacramento Kings in a preseason game at STAPLES Center, the team announced in a press release on Friday.
The special themed night will “celebrate diversity, inclusion and unity by hosting members and supporters from the LGBTQ community,” including fans from the Trevor Project of Los Angeles and the LGBTQ Center of Los Angeles, and performances by The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Gay Basketball League (LAMBDA).
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will perform the National Anthem and LAMBDA will conduct a basketball contest during the pregame.
During the game, the Lakers will honor former NBA player Jason Collins, the league’s first openly gay active player, with the “Laces of Unity” Award. Collins will receive the award, which recognizes individuals in the sports community who have made significant contributions to the LGBTQ community, for his work with the NBA Cares as an advocate for acceptance and inclusion in the league.
The Lakers will also acknowledge former NBA referee Violet Palmer, the NBA’s first openly gay referee, by making her the team’s honorary captain for the night. Palmer was also one of the NBA’s first-ever full-time female referees.
The Lakers will join the New York Knicks, the Phoenix Suns and the Toronto Raptors as the teams that have celebrated the LGBTQ community for the first time this year, continuing a trend across the entire NBA of inclusion and social involvement. The league’s marquee franchise taking such an active role in the movement is great to see.
All fans in attendance on Oct. 4 will receive the Lakers’ first official Pride Night shirt for free. Tickets can be purchased at www.lakers.com/tickets.
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