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.