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Grizzlies unveil Martin Luther King tribute uniforms

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 25: Tony Allen #9 of the Memphis Grizzlies clebrates with Zach Randolph #50 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the fourth quarter in Game Three of the Western Conference quarterfinals against the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2015 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center on April 25, 2015 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledeges and agrees that, by downloadingand or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

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The Grizzlies didn’t get their traditional Martin Luther King Day game in 2017, a sore spot in Memphis about the NBA’s scheduling.

But the Grizzlies will still honor the Civil Rights leader with these uniforms the day before:

Grizzlies release:

Black Uniform Color

The black uniform color base was chosen as a sign of respect for the moment, the movement and a reminder of the dignity of Civil Rights marchers who led us forward wearing dark suits.

Memphis Wordmark

The “MEMPHIS” wordmark across the chest showcases the marriage of the historic Lorraine Motel sign on the south side of the building and the Grizzlies’ inline typeface.

Uniform Piping Design

The piping design replicates the railing surrounding the exterior walkways and balconies of the historic hotel and museum.

Sea Foam Color Accents

The sea foam color accents, numbers and piping are pulled directly from the doors at rooms 306 and 307, where Dr. King spent his last moments on April 4, 1968.


The wreath icon on the neckline was designed to represent the wreath that hangs where Dr. King was slain, and placed in the center of the uniform to remind us of his sacrifice and work for social justice and equality.

Clearly, a great deal of care was taken in designing these uniforms. The effect, visual and symbolic, is profound.

I was initially uneasy about commemorating so directly the motel where King was assassinated rather than King himself. But not only has the motel since been turned into the National Civil Rights museum, it was a key location for blacks in a era of segregation. The motel stands for something more than being the place King happened to get shot.