The Atlanta Hawks and JP Morgan Chase partnered to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King at State Farm Arena on MLK day in Atlanta. Before this year's MLK game, the Hawks and Chase hosted a panel entitled "Investing in the Next Generation," which focused on teaching the value of financial literacy in the African American community.”
The panel of Mithalda Lambert, Vice President of Community and Business Development for JP Morgan Chase, David Shands, Host of The Social Proof Podcast and Entrepreneur Coach, and Kiersten Saunders, Co-creator of rich & Regular, spoke to an audience of nearly 100 Hawks Fans about the importance of saving money, investing in themselves, and financial health and freedom. Ms. Lambert said Chase's partnership with the Atlanta Hawks is about financial education. She also stated that as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King and his legacy of empowering the community, it was important that Chase was a part of the conversation. Ms. Lambert, like Mr. Shands, wanted the crowd to walk away with at least one financial tool or "gem" that they could implement and improve their financial health.
Mr. Shands, famously known for his brand "Sleepis4Suckers", talked about how important it was to share his knowledge and experience with an audience hungry for financial information. He said, "If you have information, you have some sort of responsibility or obligation to give it to people, especially in your own community…". Mr. Shands went on to say, "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, our community, in our own backyard, if I can share something that's going to uplift someone or educate somebody, I feel like I have to do it."
The audience was indeed hungry for the information which led to a very interactive and engaging Q&A with the audience at the end of the panel discussion.
Audience members asked questions about starting businesses, investment opportunities, and overcoming/preventing fraud. After the panel discussion, people gathered around the panelists to continue to learn more from the engaging group of financial experts. Mr. Shands said he remembered all the conversations after the panel discussion; he specifically mentioned some "kids" from Emory who were looking for mentorship. Mr. Shands said he would invite them to the studio and out to dinner, but he was just pleased to be in a position to help people.
The Hawks game not only attracted those interested in financial health, but the stars of Atlanta were in the building on MLK Day, including rapper Lil Boosie, Killer Mike, and TV personality Big Tigger. Civil Rights Leader Ms. Xernona Clayton, former aid to Dr. Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King, along with former civil rights leader and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, were both in attendance and greeted with a lot of love from the Hawks fans. Hawks fans were treated to an awe-inspiring halftime show choreographed by Ms. Nasha Thomas of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company in partnership with local Atlanta dancers and the Atlanta Hawks dance team. Ms. Thomas choreographed the dance in honor of Dr. King and Alvin Ailey, two men (as Mr. Thomas put it) who were twentieth-century visionaries. Ms. Thomas said, "we brought revelations to the court, which never happened before, so the people in the stands got to dance and clap as we were doing Rocka My Soul." The dance team did a fantastic job with only 8 hours to prepare for the halftime routine with 25 new dancers under her leadership. The performance was good. The halftime performance fully displayed the passion for excellence Ms. Thomas has in her art. Ms. Thomas said, "I love what I do, Mr. Ailey was a great mentor, and if we don't love what we do, we shouldn't be doing it; the dancers love what they do, and they are honored to be able to bring Mr. Ailey's work to the masses…" Thomas went on to say that both those men were about hope and redemption and love, that's something that very important and something that we all need at this time."
While the Hawks brass and Chase partnered to put on a great event to honor Dr. King, the Atlanta Hawks Basketball team didn't disappoint their fans. The Hawks walked away with a 121-113 victory over the Miami Heat. This win continues a three-game streak for the Hawks and pulls them to a .500 record. Guard Dejounte Murray led the Hawks with 28 points, while Tre Young also had a strong game ending with 24 points and four steals. Young was incredibly proud of his steals. Young said, "It's important for me. I want to be aggressive and fight for my team on both ends. With DJ being out there, it allows me to be a little bit more aggressive on the defensive end. When you foul (out), you don't have someone that can play-make for everyone else, and sometimes you think about it, but now that DJ is here, I can be more aggressive on both ends. It allows me to use my speed and get under people…". The return of Hawks center Clint Capela also made a significant difference on the defensive end of the floor as he contributed six rebounds and 12 points while on a minutes restriction in his first game back after a lengthy absence. The Hawks will look to keep their win streak alive as they take on the Mavericks later this week.