With Atlanta being the epicenter of the MLK Day holiday, the Hawks have always used the day to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On Jan. 16, the Hawks faced off against the Miami Heat and held several activations to honor the holiday as Civil Rights legends Ambassador Andrew Young and Xernona Clayton watched in attendance.
On the court, the Hawks were able to push their winning streak to three games in a row by defeating the Heat 121-113. The Hawks were led by Dejounte Murray, 28 points, and Trae Young who scored 24 points. Clint Capela returned after nursing an injury and scored 12 points off the bench.
“We know how good Miami is,” coach Nate McMillan said following the game. “So we have a lot of respect for their play. I thought we got off to a good start in the first half and built up 20 point lead coming out in that third quarter. The plan was to stay aggressive. We knew that they were going to try to turn up their defensive pressure and try to force the tempo. I thought our guys did a good job of continuing to stay calm.”
Trae Young spoke about how the team’s aggression has helped them in the three-game winning streak. “It’s been great to see the aggressiveness from everybody these past few games,” he said.
Young also shared the importance of playing in the annual MLK Day game.
“For us to get to play basketball on his day and being able to live in Atlanta is special,” Young said. “Knowing what he meant to our country, but specifically to Atlanta, means a lot. I never want to take this day for granted playing in the city and playing on his day. So it’s important for us to come out here and give it our all and compete hard. So that’s very important to me coming out here and playing on his day for sure.”
Before the game, the Hawks and Chase hosted “Advancing the Legacy: Investing in the Next Generation” featuring panelists Mathilda Lambert (VP, Community & Business Development, Chase), Kiersten Saunders (Author and Co-owner, rich & REGULAR and Cashing Out: Win the Wealth Game by Walking Away) and David Shands (Author and Owner, SleepIs4Suckers and The Social Proof Podcast).
“The panel that we held was in honor of Dr. King’s legacy,” Lambert said. “And it focused on having that conversation about financial health and providing the audience with additional resources as it pertains to financial help that will help them along their financial journey.”
Before taking the court, Hawks players were introduced by the MLK Day game gospel choir. At halftime, Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs led members of the Hawks Dancers and various Atlanta dance groups (AREA, Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta Dance Connection, Ballethnic, Dance Canvas, Moving in the Spirit and Tri-Cities) in a celebration of “Revelations,” an American masterpiece of hope and redemption. A universal celebration of the human spirit, “Revelations” is based upon Alvin Ailey’s “blood memories” of growing up in the rural South and has inspired audiences around the world for over six decades.