The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is one biggest days in the NBA’s regular season. A day full of marquee matchups and tributes to the civil rights icon is always a must-watch event every season and here are the top five things to look forward to this season.
- DeMar DeRozan
The Toronto Raptors guard is currently on a scoring tear like no other in the league right now. DeRozan’s coming off of a 42-point performance against the Golden State Warriors and is averaging 25.4 points a game this season. Before the year started, one publication didn’t even have the All-Star in the league’s top 30 best players and so far he’s proving that claim to look more foolish by the day. The Raptors travel to the City of Brotherly Love to play the 76ers at 1 p.m.
- Chris Paul returns to L.A.
After six seasons in Los Angeles, Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul returns on Monday night to face Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers. So far this season, Houston has looked like the best team in the entire league with a healthy Big Three of Paul, James Harden and Clint Capela. The Rockets have even made the sleeper moves of signing scorers Gerald Green and RJ Hunter.
- Last Cleveland/ Golden State regular-season matchup
The league’s current best rivalry returns after the Christmas Day showdown, this time with Stephen Curry and Isaiah Thomas in the fold. During the Christmas matchup, Warriors forward Kevin Durant seemingly got away with fouling Cavaliers forward LeBron James multiple times in the last two minutes. It’ll be interesting to see how both teams play for the last time before June.
- Memphis Grizzlies tribute
An NBA tradition is to always have a Memphis Grizzlies home game on MLK Day to memorialize the icon in the city he was assassinated in. Every season, the Grizzlies do something unique to honor King.
- The Atlanta Hawks starting lineup
Easily one of the best traditions in the league is when the Atlanta Hawks bring out a local choir to introduce the team’s starting lineup on MLK Day. The soulful introductions represent the Black Baptist Southern culture that the Atlanta native King was immersed in.