WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Wizards will celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 17, when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers at 2:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena.
The Wizards will begin honoring Dr. King on Friday, January 14th with a virtual Zoom roundtable discussion featuring Natasha Cloud and Alysha Clark, from the Washington Mystics, Daniel Gafford, from the Wizards and Etan Thomas, author and retired Washington Wizard. This year’s roundtable, moderated by Jesse Washington, senior writer for The Undefeated, will highlight social justice and the responsibility and role sports and athletes play in social activism and community activation. The panel discussion is designed to inspire each participant to take charge of their lives and challenge them to impact their communities in positive ways.
The Wizards also announced the launch of an essay contest for DMV-area middle and high school students. The contest will run from January 17 – March 17, 2022. Participants will submit a 250-word essay about a community leader who has had a positive impact on their life.
The top essay of each category (high school and middle school) will be announced on March 31 and the winners, as well as the community leaders the winners have written about, will be recognized by the Wizards organization on April 8. The winners from the essay contest will receive a scholarship contribution and be invited to a chalk talk conversation with Edwin B. Henderson, II, the grandson of Dr. Edwin Bancroft Henderson, who is considered the father of Black basketball. The chalk talk discussion will highlight the original letters EB Henderson wrote to newspaper editors regarding civil rights and race relations.
Throughout the game, Brandon Camphor & One Way will sing the national anthem and perform their original song “Hope Is Alive” during a timeout. A spoken word video about MLK Day and player video segments reflecting on the significance of Dr. King’s legacy will be played. All arena staff and Wizards’ personnel will also wear a special MLK button.
In celebration of Dr. King, the Wizards will display a “MLK in Color” photo gallery of Dr. King’s life on the concourse. The team will also hang a poster in section 117 of the concourse where fans can write about what MLK Day means to them. Following the game, the poster will be donated to a local community group.