Thurl Bailey stood at center court and recited the words from memory: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.”
On Monday, more than 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, the Utah Jazz joined the rest of the NBA in honoring Dr. King’s life and legacy.
“His lessons on mutual respect, his fight for equality for all, stand as true today as they ever have,” Bailey told the crowd of 18,000-plus at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Dr. King’s words and lessons were at the center of a number of team events throughout Monday.
Children from the Calvary Baptist Church and Salt Lake County Youth Government were treated to a clinic at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The participants got basketball instruction on the court at the arena. They also received a lesson from members of the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission about Dr. King’s legacy and the six principles of nonviolence he outlined in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom.
“We are planting the seed that when they see an injustice, they will have the voice to speak up,” said Emma E. Houston, Salt Lake County’s Director for Diversity and Inclusion and the director of the MLK Commission. “I believe this partnership with the Jazz is reaching the community as a whole. For the Jazz organization to see the need in the community and to branch out and reach out, it can only get better.”