The NBA continues its tradition of honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Monday on MLK Day, with a full slate of games showcasing the league’s best and brightest stars.
The same way we plop onto the couch with a plate of sweet potato pie and laugh our butts off while watching the Detroit Lions lose; the same way we eat four or more hot dogs and a pound of potato salad and scream louder than fireworks at the umpire for screwing up a call; the same way we open presents while listening to Mike Breen call the first installment of the NBA on ABC; on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day we will most likely wake up around 1 pm ET (those of us who have the day off, anyway), turn on the TV and spend the day watching basketball.
Christmas, of course, has long been known as the NBA’s day, but since 2001, the third Monday of January has received a similar treatment each year with a smorgasbord of matinee games and high-profile national broadcasts to close out the day. This year, 10 games are scheduled, five of them afternoon starts, four to be nationally televised. It is the fifth time since 2010 that 10 or more games have been played on MLK Day.
This year will feature the 14th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Game in Memphis, the city in which King was assassinated in 1968, with the Grizzlies facing the New Orleans Pelicans. Among the events surrounding the celebration game, the 11th Annual National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award will honor former NBA and WNBA stars Jalen Rose, Spencer Haywood and Tamika Catchings, the first-ever female honoree. The MLK Jr. halftime ceremony will be broadcast live on ESPN and includes a tribute video and live music from Leon Bridges.
Last season, the league rolled out this commercial featuring excerpts of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech to illustrate the barriers that have been broken through basketball.
In 2014 the NBA unveiled its “Dream BIG” campaign, which ran throughout Black History Month, on MLK Day as a way to celebrate the legacy of African-Americans.
SiriusXM will honor Dr. King with a Martin Luther King Jr. Day special featuring four NBA legends – Nate “Tiny” Archibald, Dave Bing, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Tom “Satch” Sanders. The hour-long program will be hosted by Jason Jackson and airs Jan. 18 at 1 pm ET, leading into the day’s game broadcasts. The four players will discuss Dr. King’s legacy and the impact of his work on players from their era through today. They will also share their experiences playing and growing up during the Civil Rights Movement.
Listen to all 10 of the NBA’s MLK Day games on SiriusXM. For channel listings and a preview of each game, head over to the SiriusXM Sports’ MLK Day preview.
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