CultureMelissa Proctor connects Atlanta Hawks franchise to MLK

Melissa Proctor connects Atlanta Hawks franchise to MLK

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. Every third Monday of January, it’s Melissa Proctor‘s job to honor that dream in an entertaining and engaging way.
Proctor is the chief marketing officer for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks usually host a game in King’s hometown every year; it’s up to her to facilitate the day’s festivities. This past MLK Day, she spoke to rolling out and other Atlanta outlets about bringing it all together.What is it like honoring Martin Luther King Jr. every January?
Every year for the past number of years, we’ve been celebrating the legacy of Dr. King on MLK Day. This year is like no other. We partnered with Chase pregame — before any fans came into the building — to have a conversation on transparency and homeownership for African Americans in the city.So much of that has to do with the work and the legacy of Dr. King and what he was doing before he died with the Poor People’s Campaign. We want to help to preach economic empowerment, which we do regularly. And [MLK Day is] no different. I think for us, every year is about looking at how we can help educate the next generation of Hawks’ fans on the legacy of Dr. King. It’s what we strive to do.
You all have tapped Killer Mike as today’s halftime entertainment. What do you think about everything he’s doing in and outside of music?
We’ve partnered with Killer Mike from the time we reopened this building over five years ago by getting the Swag Shop in the building. That was something I was proud of, working directly with Mike. I really want him to come home with the Grammy this season. His last album, I think, was some of his most amazing work.
Being able to bring him into the building as Atlanta’s son and all the work that he’s done for the city, on Dr. King Day — he’s super excited about it as well. We have several artists we always bring into the building, but to have Killer Mike here on this day is most special.
What goes into a day like this to make it the best experience possible?
That’s a great question because every year we try to see how we can level up from the previous year. Even this year, we are wearing our City Edition uniforms. The whole mantra behind it is “Lift As We Fly,” and it’s how we lift our community as we fly and soar as a basketball team.
Wearing this uniform on MLK Day is even more important to the work we’re doing. But we have a tremendous team led by Joe Abercrombie [Hawks’ senior vice president of live experience and production]. Every year they’re, like, “What can we do differently? How can we get a choir to come in and take it up a notch?” They do so much work and have so many rehearsals. It just makes me proud to be a part of this organization and to know that we want to honor Dr. King in a bigger and better way every season.

Source: Rolling Out

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