When many Toronto Raptors fans checked the schedule for this week’s slate of games, they probably had to do a double take at the start time of Monday’s game.
Toronto is facing off at 3 pm ET today against the New York Knicks, with the game taking place at the historic Madison Square Garden.
Most weekday NBA games, of course, don’t tend to tip off until 7 pm local time or later, so it’s understandable why there’s probably some confusion with the start time.
But there is a very good reason that might not be immediately apparent to most Canadians: it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States, honouring the birthday of the late civil rights movement activist.
“Monday marks the 37th year of the NBA celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a full slate of games and off-court activities that promote equality and social justice,” an article on NBA.com reads. “Since his birthday became a federal holiday in 1983 (first observed in 1986), the NBA remains committed to furthering Dr. King’s fight for equality and justice.”
The Raptors currently sit fifth in the Atlantic Division with a record of 19-24, a half-game back of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Meanwhile, the Knicks sit in fourth in the Atlantic but sixth in the Eastern Conference, with a 25-19 record, nearly the exact reverse of Toronto.
Eight other NBA games are taking place on Monday, starting off with Boston and Charlotte at 1 pm ET.
The NBA schedule on #MLKDay!
— NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2023
The game will be broadcast on TSN in Canada.