Today, ESPN’s The Undefeated commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. Day by debuting a new content series that celebrates the civil rights leader, African-American athletes and their causes, community leadership, and more.
- Senior writer Michael Fletcher explores the origins of the East-West Major League Baseball Classic, an all-star game honoring King’s life that raised funds for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The feature explores why it took nearly two years before the proposed event took place in March 1970.
- Columnist Jeff Rivers writes about several unsung and unheralded leaders who worked with Dr. King during the Civil Rights Movement.
- Senior NBA writer Marc Spears dishes two dimes:
- NBA Coaches Roundtable: Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs), Stan Van Gundy (Detroit Pistons), Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors), Doc Rivers (LA Clippers) and Dwane Casey (Toronto Raptors) discuss the importance of playing games on MLK Jr. Day.
- Houston Rockets forward Tarik Black offers a first-person to Spears on growing up in Memphis, Tenn., the city where Dr. King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel, and volunteering at the hotel – which is now site of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis – where his mother worked.
- Writer Tonyaa Weathersbee describes the process and struggle to remove Confederate statues in Memphis and shares the inspiration behind the Memphis City Council’s vote to remove two statues in the city last month.
- Brent Lewis, The Undefeated’s senior photo editor, offers a photo gallery of Martin Luther King Jr.: Through the Years.
- Where are all the black ballplayers?: It is a familiar refrain from Major League Baseball fans, wondering why the Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr.’s and Frank Thomas-type players of the world don’t populate the professional baseball landscape anymore. While those are generational players who we’ll only see once in our lives anyways, two positions remain even more elusive for African Americans players – the battery: pitcher and catcher. Over Martin Luther King Day weekend, MLB’s Dream Series – a joint initiative by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball – gathered some of the best of both positions from across the nation in one camp to be trained under the tutelage of former Major Leaguers and scouts. The Undefeated’s Clinton Yates reports from his extensive access at the camp in a piece that will post Tuesday, Jan. 16.
The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture. The digital hub, TheUndefeated.com, combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.