Nets @ Cavaliers: NBA Celebrates MLK Jr. Day

Jordan StephensonStaff Writer

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Kyrie Irving and the Nets participated in pregame warmups against the Cavaliers, wearing a shirt that reads, “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all.”

According to the NBA, the league has been celebrating MLK Day with basketball games ever since it was first observed in 1986, and this year will be no different. More often than not, the slate of games on MLK Day each year features games in Memphis and Atlanta, as reported by Nick Gallo for I

n 1968, King, the civil-rights leader, who was in Memphis to support a strike by sanitation workers, was assassinated while standing on the balcony at the Lorraine Motel.

“It’s a special day, a special moment, a special game,” said Thunder Center Davis Favors. He continued, “It’s an opportunity to come out there and remember what he represented, remember what he stood for and make that a great day to play basketball. Pretty much the whole of Atlanta is MLK. It shouldn’t take something that happened for everyone to bring up that conversation. It’s something that should always be up for talking about, for discussions, and hopefully we can keep improving and moving in the right direction. It should be something that is always talked about and always thought about, and also something that people are doing, not just talking about. Actions speak louder than words.”

Favors continued on, stating, “As [my daughters]  get older, we’ll start having those type of conversations and definitely make sure that they learn not only about MLK, but about all the good historical figures in the world and know what they meant, what they stood for.” 

As pictured here, Kyrie Irving dribbled up the floor against the Cavaliers while wearing his new “I Love You Mom” shoes, the Kyrie 7’s, which are dedicated to his late mother Elizabeth Irving. DeMar, DeRozan, and the surging Bulls prepared to face Ja Morant and the surging Grizzlies. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks face Trae Young and the Hawks, with Trae watching from afar as Giannis dunks.

The Miami Heat celebrated Dr. Marvin Dunn, the president of the Miami Heat, with a jersey and $5,000.

According to the NBA, the Knicks enter MLK Day on a three-game win streak that coincides with a great stretch of play from RJ Barrett. 

During the streak, he is averaging 29.7 points on 53.2% shooting from the field and 56.3% from 3-point range on 5.3 attempts per game. Mitchell Robinson (15.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg) and Julius Randle (14.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg) are both averaging double-doubles.

The Hornets won the first meeting with the Knicks, 104-96 on Nov. 12, behind a combined 46 points from Miles Bridges (24) and Gordon Hayward (22) as well as LaMelo Ball’s near triple-double with 12 points, a career-high 17 rebounds, nine assists and a career-high-tying five steals. 

The Hornets held Barrett to a career-low-tying two points on 1-for-9 shooting; Hayward defended Barrett for 5:32 (50.9% of Barrett’s offensive matchup time) and held him scoreless on 0-for-4 shooting.

Kyrie Irving dribbling up the court vs the Cavaliers on MLK DAY;
wearing his new shoes, dedicated to his late mom Elizabeth Irving,
called “I Love You Mom” Kyrie 7’s.