MLK wasn't an athlete, but he understood importance of sports.

"One thing about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: the man understood sports.

I don't mean that King was any kind of a star athlete. The only sport that the young, roundish "Mike" King was known to excel at was pocket billiards, which isn't exactly a sport (the golden rule: anything that you can gain weight or smoke cigarettes while doing is not a sport). But Dr. King understood with remarkable acuity the political and symbolic power of sports. He understood that the athletic field -- and athletes -- could be a powerful megaphone for civil rights and racial justice." via Sports Illustrated

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 Image: SI.com 

Image: SI.com