Playing on MLK Day part of dreaming big


Jan 20

The NBA and its teams are again celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a full slate of games.

A total of 10 contests are on the docket, including the Chicago Bulls’ matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers (7 p.m. | WGN-TV | ESPN 1000/WRTO 1200).

The significance of playing on this holiday is not lost on the players or coaches.

“It means a lot to me. It’s history,” said Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, who will address those on hand at the United Center with a few pregame remarks. “It’s one of the huge things that I remember back when I was young a long time ago in the history books. He did a lot for this country, a lot for myself. So it’s huge to be able to play; it’s an honor to play on this day.”

“He was one of the great leaders of all time,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau of Dr. King. “When he talked about equality, he talked about equality for all people. You can’t say enough about all of the things he did. Obviously, it has withstood the test of time. It’s just amazing. He was a remarkable man.”

The NBA recently announced a multiplatform program, “Dream BIG,” which celebrates the legacy of African-Americans. “Dream BIG” tipped off Monday and will run through Black History Month in February.

The campaign includes the unveiling of a special commemorative shooting shirt, which the Bulls and Lakers will wear tonight, honoring four prominent African-Americans: Dr. King, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman and Bill Russell. Players from all 30 teams will wear the limited-edition shooting shirts for select games during the month of February.

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