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The NBA Celebrates Breaking Barriers In MLK Day Ad

Vintage footage and “I Have A Dream” make a connection between the civil rights leader and sports.

The NBA Celebrates Breaking Barriers In MLK Day Ad

To mark the holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr., the NBA has taken excerpts of Dr. King’s legendary “I Have A Dream” speech and used it to help illustrate its own evolution in breaking down barriers–from Charlie Cooper becoming the first African-American signed to an NBA contract and Bill Russell becoming the league’s first African-American coach (both were with the Boston Celtics), to Violet Palmer becoming the first female referee and the response from fans and players to Donald Sterling.

It’s a simple spot by agency Translation, featuring some classic footage and photos of stars like Wilt Chamberlain, Russell, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Yao Ming, that will give any fan at least a few goosebumps.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor and writer with Co.Create. He's a former staffer at Advertising Age, Creativity and Canadian Business magazine.