NBA Tips Off With “We Must Learn” Spot For Star-Studded MLK Day

Today, the NBA family will tip off league-wide efforts to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  

Throughout the weekend, the league, teams, coaches and current and former players will engage in the national dialogue on race and equality on NBA platforms and encourage collective action in our communities nationwide.  

On Monday, Jan. 18, the NBA will celebrate with a compelling lineup of five nationally televised games on TNT and NBA TV tipping off at 12:00 p.m. ET 

     NBA on MLK Day National TV Schedule:

  • Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks – 12:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV
  • Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Atlanta Hawks – 2:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV
  • Phoenix Suns vs. Memphis Grizzlies – 5:00 p.m. ET on TNT
  • Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets – 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
  • Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers – 10:00 p.m. ET on TNT

 Throughout the weekend, all 30 NBA teams will honor Dr. King’s fight for justice and examine the history and impact of inequality in America.  Please visit for additional information on team and league celebrations, action, service and conversations. #NBAonMLK #MLKDay

     Custom Nike Warm-Ups

NBA teams playing Jan. 14–18 will wear custom Nike MLK Day warm-up t-shirts designed in collaboration with the NBPA, MLK Foundation and Martin Luther King III. 

The front of the t-shirt features words from MLK’s timeless “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963, “NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE JUSTICE A REALITY FOR ALL,” while the back reads “HONOR KING” with the lettering adorned with Dr. King Jr.’s signature. 

Both messages are printed in a font derived from the carrying signs used in Dr. King Jr.’s memorial march on April 8, 1968.

     New “We Must Learn” MLK Spot

Today, the NBA unveils “We Must Learn,” a new spot that encourages all to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life by continuing his legacy.  

Featuring soundbites of Dr. King and the instrumental of Public Enemy’s “Harder Than You Think,” the spot depicts still images and video from peaceful protests throughout the Civil Rights Movement infused with footage of NBA players, coaches and leaders demonstrating in their communities in the wake of social injustice over the past year.  

The words of Dr. King are exemplified through the imagery of people of all backgrounds coming together on the basketball court: 

More than anything else, we’ve got to learn to love

Because we are all tied together

We must act now

We are in America and we got to learn how to live together

We ain’t going nowhere

We need to learn how to love

The spot – featuring members of the NBA family including Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, Dallas Mavericks’ Mark Cuban and Luka Dončić, Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray, Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, New Orleans Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson, Sacramento Kings’ Vivek Ranadivé, San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, and Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal – will premiere on Wednesday, Jan. 13 during the Brooklyn Nets vs. New York Knicks game at 7:30 p.m. E.T. on ESPN and across NBA social and digital platforms.

     NBA MLK Day Virtual Roundtable 

As part of the celebrations, the league will host an NBA Virtual Roundtable to discuss Dr. King’s vision for racial equality and the modern movement for social justice.  

NBA Champion and the league’s first Black General Manager Wayne Embry, National Civil Rights Museum President Terri Freeman and Founder of E Pluribus Unum and former Mayor of New Orleans Mitch Landrieu will join host Caron Butler, NBA Champion, Miami Heat assistant coach and Vera Institute of Justice board member, for a candid discussion on Dr. King’s life and vision for equality, as well as the impact of racism and inequality in America today.  

The conversation will explore ways that people of all backgrounds can create meaningful change in their own lives and communities. The 40-minute discussion will stream live on the @NBA Twitter account on Monday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. ET.

Back to top