NBA Stages Full Court Press to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Spot features King's words, Giannis and LeBron

Tonight, as part of its celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ahead of Monday's holiday, the NBA launches a 30-second spot featuring some of its biggest stars, along with the stirring words of the slain civil rights icon.

In footage from on and off the court, diverse ballers including LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jaylen Brown, Luka Dončić, Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson appear, as King's timeless call for justice and harmony reverberates:

"More than anything else, we've got to learn to love.
Because we are all tied together.
We must act now.
We are in America and we got to learn how to live together.
We ain't going nowhere.
We need to learn how to love."

We Must Learn

Titled "We Must Learn," the spot breaks during TNT and ESPN's coverage of the Brooklyn Nets-New York Nicks contest, and across the league's digital platforms.

In addition, NBA teams playing from Jan. 14-18 will wear custom Nike warmup tees designed in collaboration with the NBA Players Association, the MLK Foundation and Martin Luther King III:

The front of the T-shirt reads, "Now is the time to make justice a reality for all," a key line from Dr. King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech that resonates just as strongly amid today's social chaos as it did during the Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington. The shirt's back says, "Honor King," and includes his signature. These messages use a font derived from signs that appeared in the memorial march on April 8, 1968, four days after Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis.

In addition, on Monday at 11 a.m. ET, the @NBA Twitter account, the league's fan app and its NBA.com website will host a virtual roundtable to discuss the modern push for social justice. The league's first Black general manager Wayne Embry, National Civil Rights Museum president Terri Freeman, and E Pluribus Unum founder and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu will participate, along with host Caron Butler, a Miami Heat assistant coach and Vera Institute of Justice board member.

In addition, these five NBA matches are slated for Monday:

• Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks – 12:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV
• Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Atlanta Hawks – 2:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV
• Phoenix Suns vs. Memphis Grizzlies – 5:00 p.m. ET on TNT
• Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets – 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
• Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers – 10:00 p.m. ET on TNT

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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