The following article originally appeared on NBA.com on January 22, 2019
ATLANTA –- The Atlanta Hawks MLK Holiday weekend events culminated with their annual MLK game and celebration. At today’s game vs. Orlando, the in-game entertainment featured a special version of the starting lineups sung by the Contagious Choir of dReam Center Church of Atlanta led by RCA Inspiration artist Bishop William Murphy as well as three performances at center court from Gospel artist Koryn Hawthorne.
Prior to the game, the team hosted 30 Brown Middle School students from the College For Every Student (CFES) Brilliant Pathways Mentoring program for the Hawks’ Dream Day youth seminar. The CFES Brilliant Pathways Scholars, who have been a part of a unique mentoring partnership with Hawks employees since August 2017, started their day listening to remarks from a variety of speakers including Melissa Pierce, wife of Hawks Head Coach Lloyd Pierce, Roshown McLeod, Hawks alum, Renee Montgomery, Atlanta Dream guard, and Scott Pioli, Atlanta Falcons Assistant General Manager.
The students then participated in activities focused around Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy of social activism and inclusion. Following that, each received customized Hawks jerseys and then was taken on a guided tour of the new State Farm Arena. The hopeful future first-generation college students attended the game with early access to watch the team’s pregame shootaround courtside where Hawks Legend Dominique Wilkins greeted the group. After the game, these CFES Scholars were surprised with a meet-and-greet with Hawks players DeAndre’ Bembry and Alex Len inside the arena’s new press conference room.
Prior to the start of the game, the starting lineups were sung by the Contagious Choir of dReam Center Church of Atlanta led by RCA Inspiration artist Bishop William Murphy, and the national anthem was performed by gospel artist Koryn Hawthorne. She later returned for a special tribute to Dr. King at halftime and then previewed songs from her #1 debut album, Unstoppable, after the game. Hawthorne’s chart-topping single, Won’t He Do It, put her in the history books with a record-breaking 41 weeks at #1 on the Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart.
Additionally, throughout the game, video vignettes were displayed on the State Farm Arena’s new centerhung as current and past players and civil rights icon, Ambassador Andrew Young, shared their thoughts on the local and nationwide impact of Dr. King.