The Grizzlies didn’t get their traditional Martin Luther King Day game in 2017, a sore spot in Memphis about the NBA’s scheduling.
But the Grizzlies will still honor the Civil Rights leader with these uniforms the day before:
Black Uniform Color
The black uniform color base was chosen as a sign of respect for the moment, the movement and a reminder of the dignity of Civil Rights marchers who led us forward wearing dark suits.
The “MEMPHIS” wordmark across the chest showcases the marriage of the historic Lorraine Motel sign on the south side of the building and the Grizzlies’ inline typeface.
Uniform Piping Design
The piping design replicates the railing surrounding the exterior walkways and balconies of the historic hotel and museum.
Sea Foam Color Accents
The sea foam color accents, numbers and piping are pulled directly from the doors at rooms 306 and 307, where Dr. King spent his last moments on April 4, 1968.
The wreath icon on the neckline was designed to represent the wreath that hangs where Dr. King was slain, and placed in the center of the uniform to remind us of his sacrifice and work for social justice and equality.
Clearly, a great deal of care was taken in designing these uniforms. The effect, visual and symbolic, is profound.
I was initially uneasy about commemorating so directly the motel where King was assassinated rather than King himself. But not only has the motel since been turned into the National Civil Rights museum, it was a key location for blacks in a era of segregation. The motel stands for something more than being the place King happened to get shot.