Wizards to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy (presented by Amtrak)

Team to Hold Pregame Panel on The Legacy of Dr. King; MSE Foundation Announce Scholarship to Howard University

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Wizards will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy on Monday, January 16, when they host the Golden State Warriors at 3:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena presented by Amtrak.  The Wizards, as part of the NBA’s MLK Day celebrations, will wear a special “Now is the Time to Make Justice a Reality for All” shooting shirt.

In celebration of Dr. King, Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation will gift a scholarship to Howard University. The Wizards will also recognize Martin Luther King III, Arndrea Waters King and Yolanda Renee King, who will be in attendance, during the game.

The Wizards will honor Dr. King with a pregame panel moderated by Rob Desir, evening news anchor for Fox 5 D.C. The panel will host 30 high school students from Thurgood Marshall Academy in Southeast, D.C. to discuss how individuals can make their voices heard, what justice means to them, the role it plays today and how they can impact their local communities in a positive way.

Wizards alumnus Larry Stewart, Head of Programs and Partnerships of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition Mannone Butler, Monumental Basketball’s VP of Player Development John Thompson III and African American Museum of History and Culture curator Kevin Thomas will all participate. Following the panel, the students will watch the team warm up and attend the game courtesy of Wizards forward Taj Gibson.  

For the second consecutive year, the Washington Wizards is hosting an essay contest for high school students. Partnering with the Greater Washington Urban League, the contest honors Dr. Edwin Bancroft (E.B) Henderson, a sports historian, educator, administrator, coach, athlete, and civil rights activist known as the 'Grandfather of Black Basketball' in Washington, D.C.

The contest, open to all high school seniors attending eligible schools within a 75-mile radius, will run through February 1, 2023, with the winners being announced at a Wizards home game during Black History Month. To celebrate and honor Dr. E.B. Henderson’s passion for education and his pursuit for equal rights, participants will submit a 350-word essay describing their passion and goals for the future and what one of the biggest challenges they will face in pursuing their dreams. 

Essays will be reviewed by a panel of judges, including Monumental Sports & Entertainment Chairman Ted Leonsis and the Washington Post’s Lauren Lumpkin. The top three essay winners will win a monetary scholarship towards their continued education or college of their choice. The grand prize winner will receive $3,000, the second-place winner will receive $2,000 and the third-place finisher will receive $1,000 courtesy of the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, with Leonsis matching Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation’s prize earnings. Winners will also be recognized in-game on February 24 when the Wizards host the New York Knicks as well as on all Wizards’ digital platforms. All students who submit an essay that fits the criteria of the contest will receive two complimentary tickets to a select home game during the 2022-23 season. 

More information on the Wizards’ essay contest can be found HERE

Prior to the game, The Group Fire will sing the national anthem and Anthony Gill will also address the crowd. Throughout the game, feature videos including a spoken word video about MLK and a “Get to Know Your Wizards” video where players reflect on the significance of Dr. King’s legacy will be played. Footage of Jordan Goodwin and Gibson’s visit to the Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials will also be shown.

At halftime, Charity BlackwellOrville the Poet, Konshens the MC, and The Group Fire will perform a multidimensional performance piece through spoken word poetry, singing and rapping. The performance will feature scenes from MLK’s era, the impact he made and today’s hope for the future. The artists will be joined by the Wizards Dancers and amplified by court projection showing images and videos throughout.