Martin Luther King Rumors
Starting with Martin Luther King Day and coinciding with Black History Month, players and companies honor the past and create dialogue about the future through footwear. “I just think it’s more of a paying homage to people that paved the way before me,” Warriors forward Kevin Durant said. “It’s much more than just shoes. It’s more so of a memorial more than anything.”
Lou Williams was proud to be the voice for the Clippers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the player who acknowledged the slain civil rights activist in front of a Staples Center crowd before a game against Houston. His teammates beamed as the reticent Williams spoke, all of them happy basketball fans got to hear a proud man deliver a message of unity. The same message that the 6-foot-1 guard has often conveyed to the Clippers during their troublesome season. “Obviously it means a lot, especially with the times now,” said Williams, who played at South Gwinnett High in Snellville, Ga. “People always say history repeats itself. You kind of have an opportunity to live through some of the language and hate that your parents and your grandparents lived through. It’s not as severe, obviously, but you get a taste of it. “So, this year, out of a lot of years in my career, it was important to just briefly say something to the crowd.”
Malone framed MLK Day more as a pressing, ongoing argument than a remembrance. “Especially in the current climate, it’s that much more important,” Malone said as the Nuggets wound down a shootaround at their Pepsi Center practice court. “When you have a president making some of the comments that he has made, it’s so important to remember and honor the legacy of Dr. King and what his message was. Simple, but powerful. Fight for equality, fight for the respect of everybody. White, black, male, female. Doesn’t matter.”
“In today’s day and age, with everything we’re going through in communities across the country, (King’s) message is probably more prevalent and profound today and just as strong as it was back in the 1960s when the civil rights movement was in its heyday,” Malone said.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich became emotional Monday as he recalled where he was April 4, 1968 when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. “I can remember sitting in a room with other second classmen, juniors, I should say, (at the Air Force Academy), and it was just disbelief more than anything, especially given the speech he had already given,” Popovich said. As he continued, Popovich did so in a halting voice. “It was a silence, just silence. Nobody could speak,” he said. “That’s what I remember most.”
The current Jazz owner and billionaire businesswoman Gail Miller was the recipient of the Rosa Parks Award Monday during the 34th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon on MLK Day in Ballroom Salon A at Little America Hotel. At least 500 people were in attendance for the event, hosted by the NAACP Salt Lake Branch.
The Rosa Parks Award was established in 1992 in honor of the civil rights icon and annually honors women in Utah who help “Keep the Dream Alive.” Miller supports various charitable, education and humanitarian causes through the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation where she routinely volunteers her free time for those in need.