The Tablet Staff
MANHATTAN — Pope Francis now has his own special edition Atlanta Hawks basketball jersey, celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The team will also wear the 20-21 MLK Nike City Edition jerseys for Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of their commitment to those values.
In November, members of the National Basketball Players Association met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss economic inequality, social justice and the organization’s initiatives to promote community.
The Hawks sent the jersey — which reads “Francis” with the number 1 on the back — to the pontiff by mail. He blessed and signed the jersey on Friday, Jan. 15, which would have been Dr. King’s 92nd birthday.
𝐓𝐰𝐨 𝐠𝐥𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐥 𝐢𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬. 🙌
On Dr. King's birthday, @Pontifex blessed our 20-21 MLK Nike City Edition jersey to honor our shared commitment to making positive change in social equality, economic empowerment and love.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) January 15, 2021
The Hawks unveiled the jersey last fall. The special edition jersey marks the first time in NBA history that an individual’s initials will be featured prominently on the front of an official game uniform. Profits from jersey sales are going directly towards supporting the Georgia community.