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The Washington Wizards are set to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and his legacy today at their match against the Golden State Warriors.
Scheduled to host a match at 3:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena, the basketball team will recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a series of actions planned. In addition to recognizing Martin Luther King III and his family, the Wizards will have the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation donate money as a scholarship to HBCU Howard University.
A special jersey with the words “Now is the Time to Make Justice a Reality for All” will also be worn by the players during the match, while a panel will also be held. Led by local news anchor Rob Desir, the panel will feature 30 students from local high school Thurgood Marshall Academy to discuss justice, its part in modern society and the way it can interact with communities.
Former Wizards player Larry Stewart; the curator of the African American Museum of History and Culture, Kevin Thomas; as well as the Head of Programs and Partnerships of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition, Mannone Butler, will also be present, amongst other figures.
During the match, a series of performances will also be held with musical and spoken poetry performances by Charity Blackwell, The Group Fire and Orville the Poet scheduled.
The Wizards aren’t the only team to celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Timberwolves are also encouraging employees to volunteer in honor of the day while also hosting performances by artists like Jamela Pettiford and the local choir, Known MPLS.
“Each year, we are reminded of Dr. King’s legacy and the societal sea change he ignited as a result of his tireless work and advocacy in the fight against inequities and injustices throughout the country,” said Tru Pettigrew, the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer of Timberwolves and Lynx, per a public statement. “Today, we honor his life, leadership and legacy, and we will continue to use our platform to influence the change we seek.”
The events are all part of an annual tradition held by the NBA; since the holiday’s creation in 1986, the league has commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. day with a “Day on” attitude, choosing to play instead of canceling games like other sports leagues as a way of honoring the civil rights figure. A total of 358 NBA games have been played throughout the years, with nine more being slated for this year.
The 1998-99 season is the only season where the day wasn’t commemorated with games as the season began on Feb. 5.