MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Ahead of Monday’s away game against the Memphis Tigers, the University of Central Florida men’s basketball team was in for quite a visit.
The team visited the famous Lorraine Motel on Sunday. It’s now called the National Civil Rights Museum and it pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and so many others who died fighting for equality for all of us.
“It’s more than just basketball, and I think it’s important to know your history,” head coach Johnny Dawkins said.
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Dawkins said he wanted the players to experience history. He said it was also his first time visiting the museum.
“To actually be able to walk on the same street and be in front of the same hotel where he was assassinated, I think it’s something that will stick with them for the rest of their lives, and they can tell their kids and their kid’s, kids,” Dawkins said. “Guys were taking pictures, guys were talking amongst themselves in smaller groups, so I know it meant a lot.”
He said it also was a reminder about equality and inclusion.
“Show young people what’s going on in history, try to broaden their horizons because it’s bigger than just basketball,” Coach Dawkins said.
When the team wasn’t learning about history, they were practicing for the games against the Tigers but also taking in the city.
“I have had a little barbecue since I’ve been here to be quite frank, and our players have shared in those experiences as well,” Dawkins said.
The UCF Knights will face off the Memphis Tigers on Wednesday and will return to Orlando after the game.