MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -The Rev. Jesse Jackson gave the Memphis Tigers a personal history lesson before the team left for the Final Four.
Jackson is in Memphis for the 40th anniversary commemoration of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He met with the Tigers before they flew to San Antonio to face UCLA on Saturday and watched some of practice.
``I think Dr. King would find this a source of joy,'' Jackson told reporters. ``After all, this couldn't have happened 40 years ago in Memphis. Now we see the flowering and the blossoming of Dr. King coming here 40 years ago.''
Coach John Calipari already had printed off copies of King's biography and planned to read through King's ``I Have a Dream'' speech with the Tigers before leaving town. Jackson said he was impressed that Calipari also had copies of King's final speech, delivered in Memphis the day before he was killed, for the Tigers to read.
Jackson, who was in the parking lot when King was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968, called and asked to visit the team. Calipari said yes.
The reverend talked to the Tigers about the civil rights struggle, and how the colors that matter now involve uniforms and not race. He stressed the importance of graduating college after hopefully winning the national championship.
``It's neat for our players to understand what's been done before them and by whom,'' Calipari said. ``I'm just happy for them. What an experience. We took a team picture. They all wanted their own. `Can I have my own with him?' It's special for them, and I'm happy for them,'' Calipari said.
It didn't hurt that the Tigers have freshman sensation Derrick Rose, the point guard from Chicago. Asked for a prediction, Jackson said he would keep that private.
``But you see my jersey,'' Jackson said as he held a Memphis jersey. ``Because in Chicago, we have Derrick Rose on the brain.''
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