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Finals Watch: MLK the basketball player

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A visitor stands in front of the grave of Martin Luther King, Jr., as an eternal flame burns in the foreground on the 45th anniversary of the assassination of the civil rights leader, Thursday, April 4, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)The Associated Press

Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young said Thursday that civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was a pretty good basketball player.

Young noted that Thursday marks the 45th anniversary of King's assassination in Memphis, Tenn. Young recalled watching King play basketball on courts around Atlanta in the early days of the civil rights movement.

It was necessary to build community support, Young said: "The only place to get to some of the young people was on the basketball court, and they wouldn't listen to you until you got in the game with them."

As for King's skills, Young said, "Even though he was shorter than me, he could handle the basketball. And he could shoot well with either hand."

— Bill Barrow — http://twitter.com/@BillBarrowAP

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NCAA Finals Watch follows the Final Four games and all the activities surrounding the event as seen by journalists from The Associated Press from across Atlanta. It will be updated throughout the day with breaking news and other items of interest. Follow AP reporters on Twitter where available.