Years prior to the government officially recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national holiday, the NBA was one of the leaders in acknowledging the day’s significance. A member of the King Federal Holiday Commission, NBA Commissioner David Stern has ordered the closing of the league office’s doors to observe MLK Day since 1987.
Though the office doors are closed, the NBA schedule is typically packed with exciting games that allow the players to pay tribute to Dr. King. The tradition held up on Monday, with 13 different games being played throughout the day.
While some players pay their respects with their level of play, others do so with their footwear. Helping them achieve that yesterday were companies like Nike and the Jordan Brand, who supplied their sponsored players with black and gold Black History Month themed footwear.
Check out the images from around the NBA on Martin Luther King JR. Day courtesy of ESPN.
Baron Davis drives baseline in his Li-Ning BD Doom.
Blake Griffin scored a career-high 47 points in the Black History Month Nike Air Max Fly By.
Channing Frye dunks in the Black History Month Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Low.
Danny Granger tries to locate an open teammate while wearing a Player Exclusive colorway of the Nike Air Max Fly By.
DeMarcus Cousins posts up in the Black History Month Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.
Derrick Rose notched his first career triple-double in his adidas adiZero Rose.
Greivis Vasquez wears a black and gold colorway of the Under Armour Micro G Black Ice.
Kevin Garnett returned to action wearing the ANTA KG 1.
Dwight Howard throws it down in the adidas Beast Commander.
Gilbert Arenas surprised everybody by playing in the Nike Air DT Max 96.
Ray Allen points out an assignment in his customary big game Air Jordan Retro 11 Player Exclusive.
Elton Brand prepares to dunk in the Black History Month Converse EB3.
Sixers rookie Evan Turner dribbles in the Li-Ning Defend.
Lou Williams attempts a layup in the Black History Month Converse Sicks; Nazr Mohammed defends in the Zoom Kobe IV iD.
Jason Terry shoots a jumper in a Player Exclusive colorway of the Reebok Zig Slash.
Chris Paul attempts a rip in the Black History Month Jordan CP3.IV.
John Salmons posts up in the adidas adiZero Infiltrate; Kevin Martin defends in the Black History Month Jordan PTP’er.
Jason Thompson collects a rebound in the Black History Month Nike Air Max Hyped.
Joe Johnson attempts a reverse layup in the Jordan 6-17-23.
Monta Ellis wearing the And1 ME8 Sovereign Mid.
JaVale McGee dunks in his new PEAK shoes.
John Wall celebrates a Wizards win in a gold-branded colorway of the Reebok Zig Slash.
Kirk Hinrich defends Deron Williams in the Black History Converse Sicks Ox.
Paul Millsap attempts a layup in the Black History Month Nike Air Max Hyperdunk 2010.
Kobe Bryant gives the crowd a “Must Be The Shoes” moment in the Black History Month Nike Zoom Kobe VI.
A close-up of the BHM Zoom Kobe VI on the court, worn by Shannon Brown.
Pau Gasol channels Kareem in the Black History Month Nike Hyperdunk 2010.
Kevin Durant drives in the Black History Month Nike Zoom KD III.
A close-up of the BHM Zoom KD III on the court, worn by Nick Collison.