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NBA

The most memorable NBA moments on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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Derrick Rose, Patrick Ewing, Gilbert Arenas [NBA Getty Images]

Martin Luther King Jr. Day always bares a packed slate of NBA games.

It's one of the busiest days of the NBA schedule every season, and this year was no different with 28 of the league's 30 teams on display.

Take a look at some of the most memorable moments on a day that celebrates one of the most important people in American history.

The best moments on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Damian Lillard goes off for career-high 61 points

Date: January 20, 2020

This past Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Damian Lillard broke Gilbert Arenas' holiday scoring record of 51 points, going for a career-high 61 points in an overtime win over the Golden State Warriors.

It was Lillard Time in Portland as their superstar guard carried the team to a much-needed win to keep up in the Western Conference playoff hunt. He knocked down a tough step-back 3-pointer to send the game into overtime, then hit a game-sealing 3-pointer to send the Warriors home with a loss.

Along with the scoring outburst being his career-high, Lillard's 61 points and 11 3-pointers also marked the most in Blazers' franchise history. He also became the first player in NBA history to score 60 points on 10-or-more 3s in a game.

Patrick Ewing makes Knicks history

Date: January 17, 1994

On MLK Day in 1994, Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing made New York Knicks history.

Ewing torched the Minnesota Timberwolves, going for a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds in a win. His 34-point outburst put him over the 15,000-point mark for his career, becoming the first player in Knicks history to reach the milestone.

Game-winners on MLK Day

Gilbert Arenas, 2007: Wizards vs. Jazz

Gilbert Arenas went crazy on MLK Day in 2007, scoring 51 points shooting 14-for-29 from the field, 7-for-12 from 3 and 16-for-17 from the free throw line and a game-winner to top things off in a win over the Jazz.

Dirk Nowitzki, 2009: Mavericks at 76ers

Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points against the 76ers on MLK Day in 2009, including a classic fadeaway jumper to win the game.

Chris Paul, 2009: Hornets vs. Pacers

On the very same MLK Day, Chris Paul gave the Pacers 27 points, nine assists and a game-winning 3-pointer.

Derrick Rose notches first career triple-double during MVP season

Date: January 17, 2011

2011 was a special year for Derrick Rose and MLK Day was a memorable one.

Rose recorded his first career triple-double on the holiday, going for 22 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a win over the Grizzlies. As we all know, Rose would go on to have a ridiculously impressive season capped off by winning the 2011 NBA MVP.

MLK Day fights

Marcus Camby, Danny Ferry and Jeff Van Gundy

Oddly enough, there has been two fights on MLK Day.

On the holiday in 2001, tempers flared between New York Knicks centre Marcus Camby and San Antonio Spurs forward Danny Ferry. Camby went after Ferry, but missed his punch. His head coach Jeff Van Gundy caught the worst of his missed swing, as Camby accidentally head-butted Van Gundy.

Clippers-Rockets lockerroom fight

A classic moment for NBA Twitter occurred on MLK Day in 2018.

The Clippers and Rockets clashed both on the court and reportedly, after the game in the lockerrooms and back hallways, too. Blake Griffin and Trevor Ariza were both ejected during the actual contest and things carried over post-game.

While a lot of the speculations, reports and tweets were later to be proven false, this monumental moment for NBA Twitter cracks the list of memorable events on this holiday.

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