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NBA tips off MLK Jr. Day celebrations

The NBA will feature a dozen games on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, including four national TV matchups.

NBA teams will wear a shirt that reads “HONOR KING” on the back from Jan. 13 – 17.

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This weekend, the NBA family will honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by engaging in the national dialogue on race and equality and encouraging collective action in communities nationwide.  On Monday, Jan. 17, we will celebrate with a compelling lineup of four nationally televised games on TNT and NBA TV tipping off at 1:00 p.m. ET (full schedule below.)

Custom Nike Warm-Ups

NBA teams playing Jan. 13 – 17 will wear custom Nike NBA MLK Day warm-up t-shirts designed in collaboration with the NBPA, The King Center and Martin Luther King III.  The front of the t-shirt features words from MLK’s timeless “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963, “NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE JUSTICE A REALITY FOR ALL,” while the back reads “HONOR KING” with the lettering adorned with Dr. King Jr.’s signature.  Both messages are printed in a font derived from the carrying signs used in Dr. King Jr.’s memorial march on April 8, 1968.

New “Imagine” MLK Spot

Last week, the NBA unveiledImagine”, the new spot that honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and serves as the latest iteration of the league’s “NBA Lane” campaign.

Featuring and voiced by NBA legend Dwyane Wade, “Imagine” incorporates footage of the Civil Rights Movement and powerful soundbites from Dr. King’s infamous “The American Dream” speech.  Wade echoes Dr. King’s message as he speaks to the next generation, which is exemplified by a group of children watching footage of Dr. King’s speeches and marches on TV.  Throughout the spot, as we hear the words from Dr. King, Wade reminds us that each one of us has the power to create change.

The spot closes with text that encourages viewers this MLK Day: HONOR THE LEGACY BY LIVING IT.

Leaguewide Commemorations

Throughout this week and through the weekend, all 30 NBA teams will honor Dr. King’s fight for justice and examine the history and impact of inequality in America.  Please visit for additional information on team and league celebrations and find select activations below:

  • Memphis Grizzlies. On Saturday, Jan. 15, the Grizzlies and National Civil Rights Museum will host The Intersection of Race & Sports, premiering at 6 p.m. CT on and the Grizzlies YouTube Channel. The virtual discussion with Undefeated’s Marc Spears, National Basketball Social Justice Coalition Executive Director James Cadogan and WNBA star A’Ja Wilson will focus on issues impacting Black athletes. Additionally, as part of the team’s 20th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Game, they will honor Muggsy Bogues, Elvin Hayes and Allan Houston with the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award presented during the Earl Lloyd Sports Legacy Symposium.
  • Sacramento Kings. The Kings will commemorate MLK Jr. Day with a Week of Action as part of the fourth installment of Team Up for Change, an initiative focused on uniting, inspiring and activating around a shared commitment and call for racial equality and social justice. During the week of Jan. 17, the thirteen participating teams will deepen connections with their communities by hosting micro-events for youth that spur dynamic conversations and promote healing. These activations will take place in Sacramento, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Dallas, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Orlando, Los Angeles and San Antonio.
  • Washington Wizards. The Wizards will begin honoring Dr. King on Friday, Jan. 14 with a virtual roundtable discussion featuring Washington Mystics players Natasha Cloud and Alysha Clark, Wizards player Daniel Gafford and former player Etan Thomas. The roundtable will highlight the responsibility and role sports and athletes play in social activism and community.

NBA on MLK Day National TV Schedule: