Monday afternoon, during the Wizards game against the Bucks, The Washington Wizards commemorated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The team’s annual “We are Dreamers” panel took place prior to the game.
The panel discussion provided the opportunity for 60 young men to discuss their dreams and aspirations with local male professionals from various backgrounds.
The panel also touched on the NBA’s partnership with MENTOR and is designed to inspire each young man to take charge of their lives, make good decisions, and be successful in their pursuit of education.
Wizards in-arena host Rodney Rikai lead the discussion, Which featured Lieutenant Ruben Rossario (Montgomery County Police Department), John Bailey (Executive Director of The Shine Hard Family), Brandon Putnam (Manager of Player Services at the NFLPA), Matthew Myers (G-League & WNBA Referee), Emanuel Salazar (former police officer and founder of Mindful Warrior Retreats) and Michael Gilchrist (Principal of Benjamin Stoddert Middle School).
During the game, the team featured a special pregame crowd address from Otto Porter Jr., a national anthem performance from the Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choir, player video segments reflecting on the significance of Dr. King’s legacy, and a halftime performance from the Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choir.
After the game, players reflected on what Dr King means to them.
Forward Otto Porter said, "What he stood for, you know, equality among people in a community, his love for everybody, his love and respect just to play here in D.C. is the ultimate respect for him."
When asked what he thought King would think about where the country is in regard to race relations, guard John Wall said, "He still wouldn't be satisfied that we're still dealing with this stuff. It got better for a period of time but with the President we have we're going backwards."
He added, "King must be happy with certain things, but not fully happy, and we're going to hold down his 'I have a Dream Speech' and try to get everything as right as possible as best we can."
Players who are not African American, and not even from this country had some thoughts about the civil rights leader's legacy.
Tomas Satoransky from the Czech Republic said, I'm still learning. Coming here from Europe I see how big of an impact he had."
This article includes notes from the Washington Wizards media release.