The NBA has always tried to make Martin Luther King Day very special by paying tribute to King’s legacy in a number of ways and celebrating this national day of unity with an outstanding lineup. Just listening to the players who have been interviewed about Dr. King, it’s evident that athletes of all ages have tremendous respect for the visionary leader and a great appreciation for his contributions to the Freedom Movement that ultimately created the opportunities they have today.
I’m honored when I’m asked to do one of the MLK Day games, and the first of tonight’s marquee matchups will take our TNT crew to “The Cradle of Liberty,” where King pursued a graduate degree at Boston University and received his PhD in systematic theology in the spring of 1955. According to his friend Cornish Rogers, when King wasn’t busy studying or ministering he played hoops in the small gym of a local church close to campus in his leather shoes.
Boston’s Hall-of-Fame crew will have their hands full hosting one of the hottest teams in the league at the Garden. The reeling Celtics (4-7), who have lost four in a row, take on the Thunder, owners of the second best record in the NBA (12-2). The speed, quickness and depth of this young Oklahoma City team will make it tough for the aging Celtics to snap the Thunder’s six-game winning streak.
It will be an emotional night for Kendrick Perkins, who returns to Beantown to take on his former NBA family of eight years for the first time since he was dealt to the Thunder last season.
Chris Webber, Kevin Harlan and I have OKC @ BOS at 8:00 PM EST on TNT.