Before yesterday’s game between the New York Knicks and New Orleans Pelicans, Knicks head coach Derek Fisher, and former New York Knicks player and current color analyst of the MSG Network, Walt Clyde Frazier spoke about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the national holiday that celebrates his birthday.
Coach Fisher responded to a question about what it means to have played, and now coach, on the holiday. “I think it symbolizes just having an opportunity to be a part of something. You know sport oftentimes is a great way to kind of bring to life a lot the things that Dr. King stood for and the fact that you’re not judged by the color of your skin but by the content of your character and oftentimes in athletics and in sport it’s not really about what color you are, it’s about just being part of a team, part of a group, part of a group of guys trying to accomplish something special for a larger purpose than just yourself. I think it stands for a lot of things and I think it’s important that we don’t lose sight of that as we go through these experiences.”
Walt Clyde Frazier talked about being inspired by Dr. King. “It like catapults me back to my youth. Dr. King’s picture was on my Grandmother’s wall. I’m standing here on the shoulders of a lot of people because of what he did, what he stood for. Character, education, tenacity, sagacity, all these things that they taught us under the oppression of segregation ironically. Dr. King created a foundation, something to believe in and it still propels me today. People talk about my dress, this is why I got into dressing because when we went downtown, you had to look your best, act your best, because you weren’t just representing your family but your race as well so I was always cognizant of that, being a positive role model and it continues today.”
Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire talked about Dr. King after the game. Carmelo said “you can’t even put that in words. Me, I would rather not play on this day. We are fortunate enough to go out there and play and represent for (Dr. Martin Luther King.) It’s an honor for me and our team to go out there and participate on this night.”
Amar’e Stoudemire said that Martin Luther King Jr Day “is always a great day to play the game of basketball. Obviously we are honoring a man who stood for something in a positive way, which is very important. And also to play a game, the NBA is great at that…the NBA has done a great job with that.”