Last week, the Sacramento Kings launched two limited edition hats designed by Kings Sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein. Through a collaboration with New Era, as well as the Kings Creative and Merchandise teams, Willie infused his personal style into two custom hats available online and at team stores. This release is his second fashion project with the team – following up on a series of custom watches from last season. We spoke with Willie Cauley-Stein and the Sacremento Kings President Chris Granger on this collaboration.
QG: How did this collaboration come about?
QG: This is your second collaboration with the Sacramento kings. How is this project different than your Personalized Watches project?
Willie Cauley-Stein (WC): The Modify watch project was special to me not only creatively, but because it honored a young friend of mine, Blake Hundley, who passed away from cancer – proceeds from the watches are still donated directly to the American Cancer Society to help fund pediatric cancer research.
QG: How did your personal style influence New Era and the Sacramento Kings Creative and Merchandise teams with the design of hats?
QG: Out of all of the merchandise to design, why did you choose hats?
QG: How important is it for the Sacramento Kings to give back to the city of Sacramento?
CG: We want to be a team that is much bigger than basketball and we want to engage our community at every possible opportunity. When we developed our new arena – Golden 1 Center, we ensured that the economic and cultural benefits would remain in the region. We hired local contractors, brought in local artists, partnered with regional food providers, and support the people that serve this community every day. Sacramento Proud is much more than a tag line for us; it is a commitment to make Sacramento a better place every day.
QG: Why is it important for Professional teams to support their players off the court?
CG: For us, it is about building an incredible community – and our players are a part of what makes Sacramento great. Helping them explore off-court passions, providing them an opportunity to grow beyond the business of basketball, and supporting them with resources that only an NBA team may have, creates a stronger connection and bridge to our city and citizens. It reinforces that we want to be an agent of change and community good.
Click here to purchase your limited edition Sacramento Kings hats.