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Memphis Grizzlies to honor Sheryl Swoopes, Doug Williams, Robert Parish, Caron Butler as part of 18th Annual MLK Jr. Celebration Game on January 20 vs. Pelicans

Halftime Celebration to Feature Grammy Award Winner Leslie Odom Jr.
by Memphis Grizzlies

On Monday, January 20, the Memphis Grizzlies, National Civil Rights Museum, City of Memphis and Shelby County will host the 18th 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 New Orleans Pelicans at 4 p.m. The celebration game will be a part of multiple events commemorating the 52nd anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination and include the Sports Legacy Award presentation, annual Earl Lloyd Sports Legacy Symposium, National Civil Rights Museum discussion and more, all in an effort to engage the Memphis community and Mid-South youth to remember, celebrate and act on Dr. King’s legacy. Fans who want to come out and support the Grizzlies during the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Day Game can do so by visiting grizzlies.com/tickets. Associate celebration and game sponsors include FedEx, The Hyde Family Foundation, and Ashley HomeStore.

This year’s honorees of the 15th Annual National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award, presented by Ford and your Mid-South Ford Dealers, feature a star-studded lineup of NBA, WNBA and NFL greats: Sheryl Swoopes, Doug Williams, Robert Parish and Caron Butler. All will be honored during the MLK Jr. Celebration Day events, including the Earl Lloyd Sports Legacy Symposium, presented by the Hyde Family Foundation on January 20 at 2:30 p.m. The symposium will broadcast live on FOX Sports Southeast and recognize Swoopes, Williams, Parish and Butler for their dedicated and significant contributions to civil and human rights and for laying the foundation for future leaders through their career in sports in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Watch the 2019 National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award honorees share their stories and their unique experiences about their contributions to civil and human rights in the spirit of Dr. King.

Tip-off for the Grizzlies vs. Pelicans matchup is at 4 p.m. with the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award Ceremony presented by Ford and your Mid-South Ford Dealers preceding the game. Memphis Grizzlies Scholars and National Civil Rights Museum Representatives will present the honorees with the Sports Legacy Award before tip-off. In addition, 2020 Grammy Award-nominated, Memphis-based blues band Southern Avenue will perform the national anthem. Southern Avenue is the latest act to become part of the Ford Music program (powered by Music Audience Exchange - MAX), a program that features music from some of the biggest breakthrough artists and mainstream stars in the country.

Later in the game, this year’s MLK Day halftime ceremony, also presented by Ford and your Mid-South Ford Dealers, will feature a Martin Luther King Jr. tribute video and special halftime performance by Grammy Award-winning singer and actor Leslie Odom Jr. who is a multifaceted Tony Award-winning performer best known for his breakout role as Aaron Burr in the Broadway hit Hamilton. His new album Mr – featuring the new single “Go Crazy” - just had a top 10 debut and his film and television roles have included Murder on the Orient Express, Red Tails and Smash. Odom Jr. most recently co-starred alongside Cynthia Erivo and Janelle Monae in the heavily praised new film Harriet, a biopic about the extraordinary life of Harriet Tubman.

Leslie Odom Jr.
Photo by: Scott Angelheart/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images.

As an organization, the Grizzlies will tip-off Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration events well before the January 20 game. On Monday, January 13, Memphis Grizzlies players and coaches along with employee volunteers will join in for a team service project at FedExFamilyHouse from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. The team will be unloading and sorting food and will participate in arts and crafts as well as a cookie bakeoff. More details will be released at a later date. On Thursday, January 16, The Grizzlies will host up to 350 mentors and mentees for a screening of Just Mercy at Malco Paradiso Cinema Grill (584 S. Mendenhall Rd.) at 4:30 p.m. as a part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Movie Premiere and Student Roundtable. Following the viewing, Grizzlies forward Solomon Hill will join students for a roundtable discussion of the film. This event is closed to the public.


Martin Luther King Jr. NBA Tournament

Celebrations will continue at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. NBA Tournament on Saturday, January 18 from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. at the Grizzlies Center at Memphis Athletic Ministries (2107 Ball Rd.). The tournament is open to boys and girls with divisions of 10U, 11U, 12U and 13U. Pre-registration is required. Participants can register at grizzlies.com/youthbasketball.


National Civil Rights Museum Discussion: The Intersection of Race & Sports

The following day, Sunday, January 19 a number of Grizzlies players along with Swoopes, Williams, Parish, Butler and other special guests will tour the National Civil Rights Museum. Following the tour, all guests will attend the National Civil Rights Museum Discussion: The Intersection of Race & Sports hosted at the NCRM beginning at 6 p.m. Grant Hill, Swoopes, Williams and other esteemed figures in sports will join in on the conversation about HBCU’s and the Student Athlete Experience. Fans can tune in to the conversation live at Grizzlies.com.

Media availability for the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy award honorees and discussion panelists will be at the conclusion of the conversation around 7 p.m.


Martin Luther King Jr. High School Classic

On Monday, January 20, the Grizzlies will host the Martin Luther King Jr. High School Classic presented by Ashley HomeStore from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on the FedExForum main court. The game will feature two Mid-South teams as Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) faces off against Beebe (Ark.) High School. Access is free for fans with tickets to the Grizzlies Pelicans game that evening.


Martin Luther King Jr. NBA Coaches’ Forum & Reception

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 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Participants will include Parish, Butler, Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins, Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry, Memphis Hustle Head Coach Jason March and other guests. 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 from all levels can register for this free event at grizzlies.com/youthbasketball.


Mentoring Recruitment Fair

Fans will also be able to head to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Mentoring Recruitment Fair beginning when FedExForum doors open at 2:00 p.m. through the end of halftime. Community partners will be on site throughout the Plaza and Terrace Level Concourses at FedExForum to answer questions and discuss recruitment opportunities.


Earl Lloyd Sports Legacy Symposium

The event lineup will continue with the annual Earl Lloyd Sports Legacy Symposium, presented by the Hyde Family Foundation, from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. in the Grizzlies Built Ford Tough Training Facility at FedExForum. The symposium, hosted by Grizzlies television play-by-play announcer Pete Pranica, will feature Swoopes, Williams, Parish and Butler 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 broadcast live on FOX Sports Southeast. While admission is free to the symposium with the purchase of a ticket to the Grizzlies vs. Pelicans game, space is limited. Doors open at 2 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. Tickets for all games are available for purchase at ticketmaster.com, the FedExForum Box Office, online at grizzlies.com or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX or (901) 888-HOOP.

For more information on the Grizzlies, ‘like’ Memphis Grizzlies on Facebook or follow on Twitter (@memgrizz).

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