The Cleveland Cavaliers will celebrate, honor and remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the pastor, activist and humanitarian who led African American civil rights movements, on Monday, January 17 when the team takes on the Brooklyn Nets at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in a special afternoon 3:00 p.m. game.
The game will be dedicated to recognizing the remarkable accomplishments of Dr. King. From video montages to special routines from the Cavaliers Entertainment Teams, as well as a halftime performance by famed speed painter David Garibaldi, the game presentation will honor the life and legacy of a man who changed the world through his commitment to racial equality, voting rights and economic justice for all people, regardless of race.
“As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we not only remember all MLK accomplished to advance civil rights in our great country, but we also honor his legacy by recognizing the great accomplishments of African Americans of today,” said Kevin Clayton, Cleveland Cavaliers VP Diversity, Inclusion & Community Engagement. “It is our goal to inspire the future changemakers of tomorrow to realize their own dreams.”
The Cavaliers will also recognize young changemaker, Nia Terrell, as the community “DIFF Maker” of the game. Passionate about computer science and closing the gender and racial gaps in technology, Nia was a 2020 Stop the Hate essay contest finalist and established a “Girls Who Code” chapter during her senior year at Charles F. Brush High School.
The Stop the Hate contest is an initiative of the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage and celebrates Northeastern Ohio students committed to creating a more accepting, inclusive society by standing up and speaking out against bias and bigotry. Nia is also being recognized as part of the fourth installment of the ongoing award-winning social justice initiative “Team Up for Change,” hosted by the Cavaliers and 12 other NBA and WNBA teams. Team up for Change is an initiative focused on uniting, inspiring and activating around a shared commitment and call for racial equality and social justice. One of the primary goals is to deepen connections with the Cleveland community as well as spur dynamic conversations and promote healing.
The celebration will also extend off-the-court and into the community as members of the Cavs Youth Sports Program will host a free MLK Day Clinic for kids ages 8-17 from various local community groups at Thurgood Marshall Rec Center on Cleveland’s West Side earlier in the day. The clinic will start with a brief conversation with the coaches and participating youth about what MLK Day means to them.
Following the basketball clinic, the afternoon will end by encouraging participants to fill out a worksheet with the prompt “what is your dream to help make our community a better place” and share their responses. Each participant will receive a Cavaliers t-shirt and tickets to the game later that night.
For fans, a uniquely designed Martin Luther King Jr. Day shirt will be available for purchase in the Cavaliers Team Shop and online as well. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Urban League of Greater Cleveland and their chapter of the “Saving Our Daughters” program. Sign-making stations will be set up throughout the concourse of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse stocked with "I Have A Dream” posters that encourage fans to complete the prompt with their own dream.
Cleveland players will be wearing a special, limited edition shooting shirt during pregame warmups and while on the bench. Designed in collaboration with the NBPA, The King Center and Martin Luther King III, the front of the shirt features words from the timeless “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963, and reads, “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all." The back, meanwhile, reads “Honor King” with the lettering adorned with Dr. King Jr.’s signature. Both messages are printed in a font derived from the carrying signs used in Dr. King Jr.’s memorial march on April 8, 1968. Cavaliers' social media channels, the team's website, as well as Cleveland television and radio game broadcasts and shows will also include special MLK features and programming as well.
The Cavaliers organization is joining in on a league-wide effort to honor and remember Dr. King. The pastor, activist and humanitarian who led African American civil rights movements was paramount in fighting for social justice and reform for social justice for Black Americans as well as all marginalized people. Last week, the NBA unveiled “Imagine”, the new spot that honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and serves as the latest iteration of the league’s NBA Lane campaign.
Featuring and voiced by NBA legend and former Cavalier Dwyane Wade, “Imagine” incorporates footage of the Civil Rights Movement and powerful soundbites from Dr. King’s infamous “The American Dream” speech. Wade echoes Dr. King’s message as he speaks to the next generation, which is exemplified by a group of children watching footage of Dr. King’s speeches and marches on TV. Throughout the spot, as we hear the words from Dr. King, Wade reminds us that each one of us has the power to create change. The spot closes with text that encourages viewers this MLK Day: HONOR THE LEGACY BY LIVING IT.