On Monday, Jan. 15, the Memphis Grizzlies, National Civil Rights Museum, City of Memphis and Shelby County will host the 16th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Game, presented by Ford and your Mid-South Ford Dealers, in a side-by-side telecast, regionally on Fox Sports Southeast and nationally on TNT vs. the Los Angeles Lakers at 4:30 p.m. The celebration game will help tip-off events commemorating MLK50, the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination and include the Sports Legacy award presentation, annual symposium, museum conversation and other activities designed to engage Memphis-area youth in an effort to remember, celebrate and act on Dr. King’s legacy. Associate celebration and game sponsors include The Hyde Family Foundations, Ashley HomeStore, FedEx and Coors Light.
This year’s honorees of the 13th Annual National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award, presented by Ford and your Mid-South Ford Dealers, feature a star-studded lineup of NBA and WNBA greats: Swin Cash, Penny Hardaway, Sam Perkins and James Worthy. All will be honored during the MLK Jr. Celebration Day events, including the Earl Lloyd Sports Legacy Symposium, presented by the Hyde Family Foundations on January 15 at 3 p.m., for their dedicated contributions to civil and human rights and for laying the foundation for future leaders through their career in sports in the spirit of Dr. King.
Tip-off for the Grizzlies vs. Lakers matchup is at 4:30 p.m. with the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award Ceremony also broadcasting live on Fox Sports Southeast and TNT. The ceremony will present the honorees with the Sports Legacy Award. Later in the game, this year’s MLK Day halftime ceremony, presented by Ford and your Mid-South Ford Dealers, will feature a Martin Luther King Jr. tribute video and special halftime performance. The national anthem and halftime performer will be announced at a later date this week.
Set to debut at the game is the 2018 ‘MLK50’ City Edition uniform that will support the National Civil Rights Museum ‘s anniversary programming. In collaboration with Nike and inspired by the storied history that shaped a movement and the City of Memphis, the story behind the uniform’s design dates back to February 1, 1968, when two Memphis Sanitation workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were crushed to death by a malfunctioning garbage truck. The uniform’s story, stark use of color, iconic type and design is intended to shine a national light on the events that led up to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and of the ongoing movement forward for social justice that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. defined in life and in death.
The Grizzlies’ Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration events start on Saturday, January 13 with a Martin Luther King Jr. NBA Tournament from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Grizzlies Center at Memphis Athletic Ministries. Together, the Grizzlies and the Jr. NBA, the League’s official youth basketball program, will conduct a 3-on-3 MLK Jr. NBA Tournament. The tournament is open to boys and girls ages 14 and under. The Jr. NBA teaches the fundamentals and the values of the game at the grassroots level to help improve the youth basketball experience for all. Also featured at the event will be a one-hour panel conversation with special guests, including Cash and former NBA players Jason Collins and Mike Miller. Registration is currently open through January 12. The entry fee is $20 per team and pre-registration is required. Visit www.grizzlies.com/youthbasketball to register.
The following day on Sunday, January 14, the visiting Lakers, a number of Grizzlies players along with Cash, Hardaway, Perkins, Worthy and other special guests will tour the National Civil Rights Museum. Following the tour, special guests will attend a community conversation, MLK50: Where do we go from here? hosted at the National Civil Rights Museum beginning at 5:30 p.m. and streamed live on Grizzlies.com. Discussion guests will include Sports Legacy honoree Cash, Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, PolicyLink CEO Angela Glover Blackwell and Lakers center Brook Lopez, and will be hosted by National Civil Rights Museum President Terri Freeman. The conversation will focus on issues at the intersection of race and sports.
Celebration events will continue on Monday, January 15 with a free Martin Luther King Jr. Day Nike Youth Basketball Clinic, presented by Ashley HomeStore, from noon to 1:30 p.m. on the FedExForum main court. The clinic will serve and welcome over 75 Memphis-area youth, including groups from Grizzlies Prep, Porter Boys & Girls Club and Lester Community Center, and will help teach the values of the game and skills needed to improve their basketball experience. Each participant will also attend the Sports Legacy Symposium and receive complimentary tickets to the game that afternoon.
In addition, before the symposium and celebration game, a Martin Luther King Jr. NBA Coaches’ Forum & Reception will be held in the Draft Room at FedExForum on Monday, January 15, from 1:30-3 p.m. Participants will include Bernie Bickerstaff, former NBA head coach and father of Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, WNBA star and Sports Legacy honoree Cash and former NBA player Collins. The forum is designed to engage coaches as positive influencers and to equip them with tools to develop young athletes of character. Local coaches and sports administrators can visit www.grizzlies.com/youthbasketball to register.
The event lineup will continue with the Earl Lloyd Sports Legacy Symposium, presented by the Hyde Family Foundations, from 3-4 p.m. on Monday, January 15 in the Grizzlies Built Ford Tough Training Facility at FedExForum. The symposium, hosted by Grizzlies television play-by-play announcer Pete Pranica, will feature Cash, Hardaway, Perkins and Worthy, who will share stories of their community work and experiences through their career in sports, in the spirit of Dr. King. The symposium will be live on FOX Sports Southeast. While admission is free to the symposium with the purchase of a ticket to the Grizzlies vs. Lakers game, space is limited. Doors open at 2:30 p.m.
Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies by purchasing ticket to the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Game can do so now by calling (901) 888-HOOP or going online to grizzlies.com. Tickets for all games are available for purchase at all Ticketmaster locations, Ticketmaster.com, the FedExForum Box Office, online at grizzlies.com or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX or (901) 888-HOOP.