Last season, members of the Oklahoma City Thunder observed Martin Luther King Day by carrying a banner during a silent march in the morning and riding in a horse-drawn carriage down a parade route in the afternoon.
Today, the team will honor the late civil rights pioneer with a special 1 p.m. matinee game in Atlanta. "I think it’s great to honor Dr. King,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "He’s done a lot for our country. It’s great that we’re going to Atlanta and playing there. I think it probably has extra special meaning.” The NBA has a long tradition of playing games on Martin Luther King Day and will continue that custom with a 12-game slate today. Ten of those games will be played in the afternoon, and the last three games will be broadcast on TNT as part of a tripleheader. According to NBA spokesman Tim Frank, TNT began televising a two- or three-game lineup during the 2002-03 season, with Memphis annually playing at home because the city is home to the Civil Rights Museum. "It’s a national holiday, (a) great opportunity for our teams to honor a great man,” Frank said in an e-mailed statement. The Thunder franchise has played on Martin Luther King Day every other season since 2002-03. Two seasons ago, the team played a mid-day matinee in Houston. In 2006, the Sonics played at Golden State. In 2004, the team played at Philadelphia. "A lot of people are gathered in one arena, celebrating one cause,” said Jeff Green.