The red-hot Warriors roll into ice-cold Cleveland tonight looking to carve a third giant exclamation mark on the side of Quick Loans Arena.
! — 2017 NBA Championship ... check!
!! — 2017 Christmas Day game ... check!
!!! — 2018 MLK Day game ... [to be determined]
After spending 17 of the last 20 days on the road, the Cavaliers are undoubtedly feeling that, There’s no place like home vibe. But rest and a home-cooked meal will only take the team so far given a dismal road trip and Cleveland losing eight of its last 11 contests.
The injury reports for both teams indicate the seriousness with which the Warriors and Cavs view this rivalry: Both reports are empty, with nary a player listed on either. So it will be an all-hands-on-deck affair, with a giant spotlight on the battle of the point guards — both of whom missed the first matchup on Christmas.
Meaning of the day
In an interview with The Undefeated, Coach Steve Kerr reflected on why playing on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is special to him.
“It’s a good day for the NBA,” Kerr stated. “There are certain days of the NBA [season] where you feel special. Christmas is one. Opening night is another. MLK Day is another. It feels like a [special] NBA day. ... It’s a holiday of celebration, but it’s also kind of a solemn day, so it’s a special feeling to play on that day.”
Players are wearing special uniforms or shoes to mark the occasion: an opportunity to reflect upon the legacy and influence of Dr. King’s “dream” for a society based on equality, integration and peaceful coexistence.
Yet again, the Adam Silver-era NBA is using its platform and reach to forward issues of basic human rights that affect not only the majority of players on the court, but every person of color who lives under the brutality of racism, in all of its incarnations.
“I do think a lot of progress has been made,” Kerr continued, “but it is not linear progress. There are a lot of people out there who want what Dr. King wanted. There are a lot of forces working against that. ... In some ways, we have come a long way. In other ways, we have taken a step backwards. It’s not an easy thing to quantify.”
Dr. King’s dream is a call to action and service for each citizen, in each person’s individual life. Backwards steps can only be reversed when the majority of people commit to living the dream.