Wolves Reflect On What It Means To Play On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Timberwolves interim coach Terry Porter said there is something extra special about playing on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Being able to play an NBA game on a day honoring such an influential figure in American history in regard to both equality and service brings extra responsibility, too.

“To play a game on his day is to honor him, and again conduct yourself in a way he would be very proud and try to achieve some of the things he held close to him,” Porter said.

Audio: Cunningham on MLK Day

The Timberwolves will spend MLK Day 2013 in Atlanta facing the Hawks in a 1 p.m. matinee at Philips Arena. And if playing on MLK Day itself is special for members of the Wolves’ squad, getting the opportunity to play in the city where Dr. King was born adds a little extra to the experience.

It’s a day that not only honors the principles and the symbols Dr. King stood for during a trying time in our nation’s history, but it also reflects what we can do to volunteer through his belief in serving others.

For Dante Cunningham, being part of MLK Day is another way to embrace the efforts and struggles of everyone who took part in the Civil Rights movement with the goal of one day attaining equality. It’s a day, he said, helps enlighten everyone about the past.

“Just everything he went through to kind of set the standard that everyone has equal rights,” Cunningham said. “The opportunity that we have here, it’s amazing that we’ve come this far.”

Audio: Williams on MLK Day

For Wolves forward Derrick Williams, the principles of what Dr. King stood for extends to everyone.

“When you have interracial teams, interracial coaches, you’ve got international players coming over,” Williams said. “It’s not just African American society or things like that. It’s everybody throughout the whole world playing the game of basketball that we all love. But it’s more than just basketball, so it means a lot to us.”

Williams said he’s felt those lessons growing up as his family is from the south. He said his mom talks about how much things have changed since she was growing up and is proud of the opportunity he has to not only live his dream in the NBA but also share the benefits of a new era.

“It’s just a big day for us,” Williams said. “It was his birthday a couple days ago [Jan. 15], so it’s going to be a good celebration, especially playing on that day. It’s going to be cool.”

Porter said when he sees the success African Americans have had, it’s a testament to the sacrifices Dr. King and all the people of that generation made.

Being able to spend the day in Atlanta, playing basketball in honor of him, makes Monday’s game against the Hawks that much more special to those involved.

“It’s a special day,” Porter said. “I mean, in regards to what he mean to us, in regards to the type of example he wanted to set for everybody, how he envisioned the world going forward and all the struggles he had to go through to reach those types of goals."

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