Why do Grizzlies, Hawks always play NBA games on MLK Day?

Monday marks the 36th anniversary of the NBA tradition of holding games on MLK Day, a federal holiday honoring the life and legacy of Dr.

The league has been celebrating MLK Day with a series of basketball games since 1986, and this year will be no different. The NBA has 12 games going on Monday, starting with a showdown between the Pelicans and the Celtics at 12:30 p.m. ET.

While many NBA teams will hit the floor on MLK Day, the holiday has special meaning for the Grizzlies and Hawks.

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Why do the Grizzlies and Hawks always play NBA games on MLK Day?

Atlanta Hawks Connection to MLK

King was born in Atlanta on January 15, 1929. He grew up in the city and attended Booker T. Washington High School and Morehouse College. With that connection, MLK Day is of immense importance to Atlanta and the Hawks franchise.

Since 1994, the team usually holds games on MLK . Day with only a few exceptions. This year, the Hawks will face the Bucks in a rematch of the 2021 Eastern Conference finals.

Connection of the Memphis Grizzlies to MLK

On April 4, 1968, King, who was in Memphis to support a strike by sanitation workers, was assassinated while standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel. That site is now home to the National Civil Rights Museum, not far from the FedEx Forum, home of the Grizzlies.

Every year since 2003, the Grizzlies have played a game on MLK Day. Before their game against the Bulls, the Grizzlies and the National Civil Rights Museum held “The Intersection of Race and Sports,” a virtual discussion focused on issues affecting Black athletes. .

NBA’s New “Imagine” MLK Location

NBA day fixtures on MLK 2022

Game Time (ET) National Television
Pelicans vs. Celtics 12:30 pm
Hornets vs. Knicks 1 pm NBA TV
76ers vs. Wizards 2 p.m
Nets vs. Cavaliers 3 pm
Bulls vs. Grizzlies 3:30 pm TNT
Pacers vs. Clippers 3:30 pm
Bucks vs. Hawks 6 pm TNT
Trail Blazers vs. Magic 7 pm
Raptors vs. Heat 7:30 pm
Thunder vs. Mavericks 8.30pm
Suns vs. Spurs 8.30pm
Jazz vs. Lakers 10:30pm NBA TV

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