City of Houston Mayor's Office of Communications 

Mayor's Press Release

Mayor Turner Announces Sports Icons Will Participate in City's Official MLK Day Parade

January 13, 2023 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner today announced the VIP Sports legends, who will ride on the signature float with him during the 45th annual Original MLK Day Parade on Monday, January 16.

MLK Parade Sports Icons

Houston icons on Mayor Turner's float will include:

  • Andre Johnson, Houston Texans football legend
  • Lauren Anderson, the first Black Houston Ballet principal dancer
  • Zina Garrison, Olympian and world tennis champion
  • Elvin “the Big E” Hayes, Houston Rockets basketball icon
  • Carl Lewis, nine-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the most decorated athletes of all time
  • Sheryl Swoopes, WNBA legend
  • Shaunie O’Neal Henderson, TV personality and husband Pastor Keion Henderson of the Lighthouse Church

For the 4th-year, the City of Houston is partnering with the Black Heritage Society to produce a stellar parade filled with dynamic marching bands, decorated floats and some well-known celebrities and community leaders.
The Original MLK Day Parade is the City's official parade and will feature 156 parade entries, including

  • Twelve marching bands, including Texas Southern University, University of Houston, and Rice University bands, plus nine more marching bands.
  • Fourteen floats and hundreds of other participants, including elected officials, area school superintendents, and community and business leaders.

The Black Heritage Society selected Mayor Turner to serve as Grand Marshal in the final annual Original MLK Jr. Day parade of his administration. The co-grand marshals are e Rev. Dr. Derek King, the nephew of the great civil rights leader, and plastic surgeon Dr. Camille Cash. The parade will host a memorial tribute to John W. Bland, the civil rights activist and union leader who died in 2020.

The parade will kick off on Lamar at Smith St. downtown at 10 a.m. Monday. This year's theme is "Climbing the Mountain to a Better Future."

MLK Parade Graphic