10 Wisconsin sports figures who have lived MLK's dream

On the 50th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech, check out through our gallery to see Packers, Brewers and others in the world of sports who helped break barriers and embody the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Hank Aaron (Milwaukee Braves 1954-65, Milwaukee Brewers 1975-76)

    "Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."- MLK

    Baseball's all-time home run king until Barry Bonds (and some say still now) was not just a home run hitting pioneer. He was also Wisconsin's first African-American sports superstar. When he broke Babe Ruth's home run record, he withstood the hatred of thousands of racially-motivated letters and death threats, and still stands today as a model of grace, dignity and integrity. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Milwaukee Bucks 1969-75)

    "This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality." - MLK

    A three-time NBA MVP with the Bucks, he led the charge for Milwaukee's only NBA title in 1971. Throughout his life, he has stood up in countless efforts against racial and societal injustice. TODAY'S TMJ4

  • Willie Davis (Green Bay Packers 1960-69)

    "I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream." - MLK.

    A five-time All-Pro defensive end with Vince Lombardi's five-time world champion Packers, the coach chose Davis as the team's first-ever African-American team co-captain. Having dreamed of being a success in business since his days growing up poor in Arkansas, he later matched his football victories with groundbreaking success in the broadcast and beer business. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Donald Driver (Green Bay Packers 1999-2012)

    "We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation." - MLK

    From homelessness to Packers history, Green Bay's all-time leading receiver has led the drive on countless charitable efforts for everything from Goodwill Industries to countless other programs to help others, "to serve as a hand up, not a hand out." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • James Jones (Green Bay Packers 2007-present)

    "With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope."- MLK

    Jones took a similar path as Driver, from homelessness to greatness on the football field. He has molded his life's work to not just catch passes and score touchdowns, but help those in the greatest need through his charity, Love Jones 4 Kids. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Vince Lombardi (Green Bay Packers coach 1959-67)

    "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. " - MLK

    Perhaps no football coach ever built championship teams based more on the content of character than Lombardi. Discriminated against because of his Italian background when it came to college coaching opportunities, Lombardi had one black player when he came in 1959. He would speak out against racist treatment and opened the doors to black players. Years later, his team was among the most intergrated in the NFL, with five future Hall-of-Famers among his African-American players. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Al McGuire (Marquette basketball coach 1964-77)

    "Many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny." - MLK

    McGuire spent years coaching in the segregated south before taking over at Marquette. He had African-American players from New York City room with white players from rural Wisconsin, to help them all break down stereotypes. His integrated Marquette team's win over all-white Kentucky in the 1969 NCAA's was the final straw in integrating that program. TODAY'S TMJ4

  • Dave Nelson (Milwaukee Brewers TV analyst, director of alumni relations)

    "We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead." - MLK

    Born in segregated Oklahoma, Nelson serves right now as a Milwaukee Brewers TV analyst and director of alumni relations, but perhaps his most important work comes with the Open Arms Home for Children in South Africa, a group that serves kids orphaned due to the pandemic of AIDS in that nation. Dave Nelson

  • Bart Starr (Green Bay Packers 1956-71, Coach, 1975-83)

    "I have a dream...the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood." - MLK

    Growing up in segregated Alabama, Starr found that when he joined the Green Bay Packers, only one black player - Nate Borden - was on the roster. "Bart Starr: America's Quarterback and the Rise of the National Football League" cites Borden being shabbily treated by teammates and living in in "little more than a shanty." Starr made an extra effort to befriend the Borden family with acts as simple as having them over for dinner, and change teammates' attitudes about African-American players. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Reggie White (Green Bay Packers 1993-98)

    "With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day." - MLK

    The "Minister of Defense" didn't just sack quarterbacks. He also defended human dignity against countless examples of racism toward churches in the southern region of America, while helping open the doors for more African-American players in Green Bay and making individual differences for countless people of all races in Wisconsin. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel