Martin Luther King Jr. understood sports to be an important bridge to change. His public friendship with Jackie Robinson, more private relationship with Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay at the time) and support of the Olympic Project For Human Rights in 1967 tied King to three critical voices in sports history.

The man never needed to step onto a field of play to wear a uniform that we all recognize to this day-aspiration. Human beings are cloaked with such no matter how we physically appear on the outside. Reaching for something that we may have never experienced such as an elusive championship, is an act shared by sports fans, and by men such as Dr. King who knew that we could be made greater by our differences than by our commonalities.

Today’s youth athletes thankfully will never experience the hardship of Jackie Robinson and others who came before and after him. That’s a good thing. Where as I’m aware that there’s still work to be done, I’m also grateful for how far we’ve come. Thank you Dr. King.

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