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5 Takeaways from MLK Day Celebration with PCA, Jr. NBA, Laureus & CHJS


As a part of the Memphis Grizzlies 20th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, PCA teamed up with Jr. NBA, Laureus Sport for Good to facilitate content developed by The Center for Healing and Justice through Sport (CHJS) for the MLK NBA Coaches Forum. The event included a gathering of local community coaches to participate in a workshop from CHJS focused on using sports to overcome bias. The event was co-presented by Marti Reed of PCA, as well as a special guest panel including former Grizzlies player and current LeMoyne-Owen head coach Bonzi Wells, and moderated by Grind City Media’s Mike Wallace.

1. We all have biases. The architecture of our brain is built on our experiences.  We’ve built a catalog of what is ”safe and familiar” based on what we’ve been exposed to in our lives. The good news is, we can change or rewire our brains to break assumptions and bias, especially those that lead to discrimination and unfair treatment.

2. Exposing young people to positive experiences with things that are new and different to them can go a long way in counteracting some of the preconceived biases we may have about people and things we haven’t experienced. The more we can expose and flood our brains with positive and new experiences, the less reactive we’ll be to things that are new and different.

3. Sport is a great way to help overcome bias because it offers us the opportunity to build relationships and adapt a process of regulation, which helps us rewire the parts of our brain that control bias. Two very important things that we can provide young people through sport– the chance to move their bodies and the chance to connect.

4. In order to rewire our thinking and counteract our biases, use the 3 R’s: Relationships, Regulation, and Reflection. Changing our catalog of experiences takes intentional work, so reflection is really important.

5. It’s important to get your team in the habit of being reflective through asking questions. A great question to ask when being reflective about bias is “on a scale of 1 to 3,  how new was that experience?”

  1. Everyone was like me or felt safe and familiar
  2. The group was split between people who are safe and familiar (like me) and those that are new and different (not like me)
  3. Most of the group were not like me

The power of sports can bring people together, build relationships and break bias. We honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and continue to do the necessary work to see a world free of discrimination and celebrate our differences.

To learn more about the Center of Healing & Justice Through Sport (CHJS) and how to access the full training on using sport to overcome bias for your youth sports program, please visit

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