On Monday, the Atlanta Hawks will host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and wear jerseys that are dedicated to the civil rights activist. While the social justice message will be extremely meaningful, now the jerseys will have even more special significance.
In a video that the Hawks shared on the team’s official Twitter account, Pope Francis received a gift of one of the jerseys since Friday marked Martin Luther King Jr.’s 92nd birthday. Pope Francis performed a special blessing of the jersey and had a No. 1 on it and “Francis” on the back.
Pope Francis ended up signing the jersey as well.
Pope Francis is a huge supporter of the NBA‘s social justice efforts over the past year. In November, Marco Belinelli, Sterling Brown, Jonathan Isaac, Kyle Korver, Anthony Tolliver, and NBA Players’ Association executive director Michele Roberts actually traveled to the Vatican and had a meeting with Pope Francis to discuss what the league is doing in terms of its social justice efforts.
The Hawks will be wearing the Martin Luther King Jr. “City Edition” uniforms on Monday and the court at State Farm Arena will also honor the civil rights leader. In addition, profits from the jersey sales will go directly towards the Atlanta Community.