The Atlanta Hawks will honor civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a new alternate jersey next season.
For the first time in NBA history, King’s initials “MLK” will appear on the front of a team’s jersey. The Hawks said that the “black, gold and white colorway speaks to Dr. King’s determination, as well as his understated style.”
The Hawks plan to donate profits from sales of the MLK City Edition jerseys to the Atlanta community.
“We are honored that we were able to work with the King Estate, Nike and the NBA to make this happen. Being able to represent Dr. King and continue to educate next generation Atlantans and basketball fans around the world about his legacy is so important, especially right now,” said Hawks chief marketing officer Melissa Proctor. “One of Dr. King’s final campaigns was for economic justice, which is why we are excited that proceeds from sales of this jersey will go toward supporting communities of color.”
It is fitting that the Hawks are the first team to honor King on their jerseys, as the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner who led the civil rights movement called Atlanta home and attended Morehouse College.
King was well-known for leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the March on Washington before being assassinated at the age of 39 on April 4, 1968, in Memphis.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said recently that the earliest the 2020-21 NBA season could begin is January. The Hawks potentially could debut the jersey on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18 if next season begins in January, a source said.