NBA in OKC on MLK Day? Why not
The NBA will play games all over America today on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and most of them will be afternoon games, which signals a celebration. The Thunder will play in Atlanta, MLK’s hometown and the home of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, which includes his boyhood home and the King Center, which is dedicated to his legacy. I toured them during the 1996 Olympics, and both are very well worth your time if you’re ever in Atlanta.
Oklahoma City has a strong MLK celebration every January. So why not a day-time basketball game at the Ford Center? Should OKC petition to get one of the matinee games next season.
I think it would work. NBA crowds are mostly white-collar, which means people who aren’t off already can get off if they need to. Some of the Loud City seats, especially the $10 end zone seats which often are the last sold or which remain empty for non-sellouts, might be tough sells, but that would be a prime sponsorship pitch for the Thunder. Send 10 kids to the Thunder game for $100. Send 100 kids for a $1,000. The Boys and Girls Club of OKC certainly would welcome such philanthropy.
The MLK Parade in Oklahoma City always is a moving tribute to the civil rights leader, but celebration is a worthy tribute, too. What a day that would be in OKC. A morning service at the Calvary Baptist Church, NE 2nd and Walnut, where King spoke in 1960 and where a few years earlier church elders voted not to hire him as pastor, considering him too young; then a parade through Deep Deuce, followed by a 2 p.m. tipoff at the Ford Center.
I think Oklahoma City would respond in a big-time way. Sports would only enhance the memorials and celebrations of one of our greatest Americans.
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