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Fort Bliss takes annual MLK basketball tournament


A Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas player defends a Fort Dyess, Texas player during the Martin Luther King Jr. Tournament Jan. 13 at Sheppard AFB. The tournament kicked off with the Sheppard and Dyess game at 8 o’ clock on Saturday, the game was close, but ended with Dyess winning with a final score of 78-67. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman First Class Pedro Tenorio)


Martin Luther King Jr. was not only an inspirational and spiritual leader, but brought communities together as well. Here at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, we honor him in a unique way.


The annual Martin Luther King Day basketball tournament took place on Jan. 13–14 here at Sheppard AFB. The tournament ended on Jan. 14 with Fort Bliss, Texas, not only leaving Fort Hood, Texas, in the dust with a final score of 117-98, but they also brought home individual medals including the MLK Championship Belt, and a $50 Texas Roadhouse Gift Card.


On the other hand, Sheppard’s team didn’t have the greatest showing in this year’s contest as they were eliminated early in the tournament.


Some residents at Sheppard can recognize how prestigious it is to win this tournament, but hosting it this year is an honor in its own right.

“The MLK tournament originally was started here 23 years ago to promote community involvement and morale across the base,” said Christopher Hall, the MLK Tournament coordinator. “The tournament gives the surrounding military bases a place to represent their respective bases in a high-level, competitive environment, which breeds friendly rivalries between bases.”

All throughout the Midwest, Air Force and Army installations sent their best ankle-breakers and their elite sharpshooters to Sheppard to win the coveted MLK trophy, but more importantly – bragging rights.

Although teams have fought hard all year and gave their all in this year’s tournament, it might not be the final game. The tournament also functions as a sort of qualifier that tallies up points to see who is eligible for bigger All-American tournaments in the future.

“This is one of Sheppard’s favorite events,” Hall said. “It has a longstanding history and enables us to interact with other military bases.”

Air Force teams represented this year were, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana; Cannon AFB, New Mexico; Dyess AFB, Texas; Peterson AFB, Colorado; and Sheppard AFB.

Army teams represented this year were, Fort Bliss; Fort Carson, Colorado; Fort Hood; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; and Fort Sill, Oklahoma.