Practice Report | Jan. 20, 2014

Practice Report | Jan. 20, 2014

The Timberwolves as an organization have played on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 22 of their 25 years in the league. But on Monday, the Wolves had a rare off day on MLK Day and had a chance to reflect after practice about what the Civil Rights leader meant to our country and to those who followed his lead.

For the players on Minnesota’s roster, Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy is one of peace and equality, one that helped pave the way for everyone to live together in harmony and have opportunities to follow their own dreams like playing in the NBA.

“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him,” guard Kevin Martin said. “So it’s great that the NBA recognizes what he has done off the court for many players…it’s just a great day in all.”

The NBA schedule 10 games coast-to-coast on Monday, beginning with contests in the morning and ending with 9:30 p.m. CT contest between the Warriors and Pacers. It’s an important day in the NBA’s season because of what Dr. King represented and what he fought for during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

In many ways, participating in the NBA’s Martin Luther King, Jr., schedule is a badge of honor. This particular Wolves team was not scheduled to compete, but over the team’s history they’ve compiled a 14-8 lifetime record on the holiday. The last time Minnesota did not play on MLK Day was 1999.

Whether they’re suited up for a game or practicing at the LifeTime Fitness Training Center, players like guard A.J. Price are proud to be part of a league that celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy. He said regardless of however they decide to do it, the fact that they acknowledge what he stood for and celebrate his place in U.S. history says a lot about the league as a whole.

“He fought to make the world a better place, and we’re still working to be perfect in that aspect today, but I think he’s the reason why we are where we are now,” Price said. “There were a lot of other people around that time, but he was definitely one of the most prevalent leaders around that time.”

Price has been around the league for five seasons, so he’s gotten an understanding for how the NBA celebrates MLK Day. For rookie Shabazz Muhammad, he’s familiar through growing up watching as a fan. Now, even though this season he isn’t suited up, he’ll likely get a chance soon to play an NBA game on the holiday.

He’s looking forward to that chance.

“It will mean a lot,” Muhammad said. “You look at it, and we have all kinds of guys on our team and we’ve come together as brothers. That’s the good thing about having a family with basketball and all the sports. Nobody gets treated bigger than the other guy, and that’s something that’s big on our team. We’re all family and brothers, and it really helps a lot.”

Price said it’s important for players, too, to recognize the significance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s message and his legacy.

“It’s definitely a privilege to take part in, you know, something as significant as Martin Luther King Day,” Price said. “Just for what he did all around the world. I think it’s great that the NBA participates in it and shows that they’re definitely appreciative of everything he’s done. I think it’s great for the league, it’s great for us as players.”

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