Today, we honor Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy and mission as a civil rights leader. While there are a multitude of stories we can tell illustrating how people still carry King’s mission forward, an excellent example is none other than Atlanta’s WNBA team, The Dream, which is a nod to MLK and his hometown. And it was the players of The Dream that walked in the light of King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech this past summer for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Last summer, Kelly Loeffler, the outgoing Senator from Georgia and current co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, wrote a letter to the league’s commissioner denouncing the Black Lives Matter movement (“politics should not be part of sports”). Needless to say, the players of the WNBA team named in homage to King’s legacy would have no part of their co-owner’s wishes.
Many called for Loeffler to step down from her role with The Dream. Soon thereafter, a July 10th team statement signed by all the players, stated “We are the women of the Atlanta Dream. We are women who support a movement. We are strong and we are fearless. We offer a voice to the voiceless. Our team is united in the Movement for Black Lives. It is not extreme to demand change after centuries of inequality. This is not a political statement. This is a statement of humanity. Black Lives Matter.”
Throughout the WNBA season, The Dream’s players made their #BLM opinions known in social media and the press. They even wore t-shirts supporting Reverend Raphael Warnock, the challenger to Kelly Loeffler in the senate race. Interestingly, the awareness fueled by The Dream pulled Warnock from single digits in mid-July to mid-30’s by November which was enough to cause a run-off for the Georgia senate seat; Warnock won the run-off in January 2021.
The Dream is another wonderful example of MLK’s legacy continuing that we can highlight. Interestingly, this story continues as socially conscious NBA legend LeBron James is openly petitioning to purchasing The Dream from co-owner Kelly Loeffler.
Something to share today…
Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor of Marketing
Methodologist, Seton Hall Sports Poll
Stillman School of Business