NBA: What is Martin Luther King Day (MLK ​​Day)?

On January 16, the third Monday of January, the NBA will host Dr. Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

On this holiday in the USA, like every year, the NBA will present ten beautiful posters. In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about this special day.

The Making of MLK Day

MLK Day is the second highest-grossing day after Christmas. Established in 1986, on the third Monday of January Dr. It is celebrated to honor the memory of King. Since then, the NBA has become a major player in these commemorations.

“Its players are predominantly black, and culturally, basketball is recognized as a black sport unlike any other American sport,” University of Southern California (USC) professor Todd Boyd said last year. “Basketball associated with big cities is more cosmopolitan. And NBA Dr. It embraces King’s values ​​like no other league will,” said the racing expert.

Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus said that since David Stern, “the NBA has tried to be at the forefront of social change in the best way a diverse league can do,” and that “it took all the efforts of MLK to start a sports league.” for people of diverse backgrounds.”

NBA as a symbol of integration

The NBA was originally a white-only championship. The integration of the first African-Americans Chuck Cooper (Boston), Nat Clifton (New York), Earl Lloyd (Washington) took until 1950.

When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968, the basketball star’s name was Bill Russell. His rivalry with Wilt Chamberlain, who scored 100 points in a single game, is already legendary. The day after the tragedy, Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, Boston-Philadelphia, awaits.

Russell, who was heavily involved in the civil rights movement, was devastated. So was Chamberlain, though less combative. Two men don’t want to play but don’t agree: Celtic’s Bailey Howell protests – ‘Why cancel? What was the king’s name? -, Chet Walker (76ers) condemns “masquerade”.

The NBA finally resumes this meeting and Game 1 in West Los Angeles-San Francisco. Matches 2 were postponed following a national day of mourning by order of Lyndon Johnson. “The matches shouldn’t have been played, but it’s ‘NBA will serve you.’ There was no respect for MLK. He was almost like an enemy to a lot of people in America,” recalled former standout Oscar Robertson in an interview with The Undefeated.

“In any case, the NBA was not watched, there was no visibility. We did not pay attention to the players. It was in the mid-1980s that their voices began to spread,” adds Boyd.


The pulse of David Stern

This time coincides with the beginning of the Stern era. The man who managed to make the league popular and prosperous has sat on the commission since 1984, the federal holiday “MLK Day” celebrated by Ronald Reagan, but opposes its creation and will be celebrated for the first time in January. 20, 1986.

Arizona Governor Opposes ‘MLK Day’? The NBA would not host any events there until 1992 except for regular season games and playoff games by the Phoenix Suns.

In 2001, Stern arranged for the Grizzlies franchise to move from Vancouver to Memphis, home of the National Civil Rights Museum. “The NBA held a symposium there in 2018 for the fiftieth anniversary of MLK’s death,” adds Todd Jacobson, for example, who is in charge of social action.

Off-Site Actions

“We do a lot of events every year,” he continues, referring to the NBA Voices platform, which specifically focuses on fighting social injustice by promoting equality and diversity.

“On the players’ side, the mobilization to promote inclusion and education is also very strong,” adds Eric Pincus, “even if these events are held regularly throughout the year,” such as the recently opened “I Promise” school. LeBron James for underprivileged children in Akron, Ohio.

The business claims that MLK Day also generates many successful commercial transactions, especially custom jerseys.


“I’m not saying this league is perfect. But he is the one who has made the most progress. The place with the highest percentage of African Americans. Where black players get paid better than anywhere else for what they can do,” concluded Bill Russell in 2011.

MLK Day NBA schedule

Multiplex from 19:00 to 7:30 (beIN SPORTS 3)

Charlotte Hornets-Boston Celtics, 19:00 (beIN SPORTS 3)

Milwaukee Bucks – Indiana Pacers 20:30 (beIN SPORTS Max 8)

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 9 p.m. (beIN SPORTS Max 9)

New York Knicks vs. Toronto Raptors, 9 p.m. (beIN SPORTS Max 10)

Washington Wizards – Golden State Warriors, 21:00 (beIN SPORTS Max 6)

Atlanta Hawks – Miami Heat 21:30 (beIN SPORTS Max 5)

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Utah Jazz, 10 p.m. (beIN SPORTS Max 4)

Memphis Grizzlies – Phoenix Suns 0:00 (beIN SPORTS Max 4)

Los Angeles Lakers – Houston Rockets 4:30 (beIN SPORTS Max 5)

BeIN SPORTS is available via MyCanal

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