The Boston Celtics were not among the teams taking part in a full slate of NBA games Monday, but even if their bodies were not on the court, many of their minds were filled with thoughts of Martin Luther King Jr.
In addition to being a national holiday, MLK Day has become an unofficial holiday on the NBA calendar. Twenty teams were in action Monday from afternoon to late at night.
The Celtics were off to prepare for Tuesday night’s game against the Miami Heat, but in a video posted on the team’s official website, players like Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green talked about the significance of the day to them.
“The reason why I celebrate it so much is because he gave me the ability to be who I want to be and kind of paved the way and sacrificed himself, not only for blacks, but for everybody to realize that we’re equal,” Sullinger said in the video. “We have the right, we have the opportunity to be somebody in this world, and I think that’s the main reason why I celebrate Martin Luther King Day.”
Blacks like Sullinger aren’t the only people affected by King’s legacy. Celtics coach Brad Stevens commented on the importance of King’s message to each individual’s ability to impact the world around him.
“It’s an unbelievable day to sit and think about how far we’ve come and also what kind of impact a person can have,” Stevens said. “I heard a line that I always thought was really a great line, ‘Life is not measured in terms of years but in terms of meaningfulness.’ The meaning that he brought to life and what he did for our country and our world can’t be overstated.”
Click to the video to hear Sullinger, Green, Stevens and Celtics assistant coach Walter McCarty‘s full remarks.