Grizzlies take to the streets of Memphis for 2012 Grizz Week
In an effort to give back to the community in the areas of education, health and wellness through hands-on service, the Memphis Grizzlies got fans across the Mid-South excited about the start of the 2012-13 season in Memphis with Grizz Week, which took place Oct. 23-31.
Grizz Week, a series of community and promotional events around the city of Memphis to get Grizz Nation ready to support the Bluff City’s team, were led by players, coaches and executives in conjunction with NBA Cares Week.
Grizz week tipped off Tuesday, Oct. 23 when All-Star Reading Team members Wayne Ellington, Jerryd Bayless, Quincy Pondexter and representatives from Memphis Grizzlies and International Paper went back to elementary school, literally, to host the annual Read to Achieve Tip-Off, presented by International Paper.
Nearly 300 students filed into Downtown Elementary’s multipurpose room to catch a glimpse of the Grizzlies players, Grizz and the Grizz Girls during a special pep rally to kick off the festivities where the players led the students through several screaming contests, chants and cheers.
Afterwards, the All-Star Reading Team members shared the story Llama Llama Mad at Momma by Ann Dewdney to students in the school’s library, where they discussed their favorite books and the importance of reading in their lives.
“I developed a love for reading when I was young,” said Bayless. “Even though I am not in school anymore, I continue to read and make my brain grow. It is something that I try to do every day because you don’t want to be stagnant, and reading is what you can do to fulfill that.”
The NBA’s Read to Achieve program is a year-round campaign to help young people develop a life-long love for reading and encourage adults to read regularly to children. Reaching an estimated 50 million children a year, Read to Achieve is the most extensive educational outreach initiative in the history of professional sports.
The week continued on Thursday, Oct. 25 as the Memphis Grizzlies tipped off this year’s Healthy Home Court Fitness at LaRose Elementary with the ribbon cutting of the school’s new fitness room sponsored by C Spire Wireless and built with donated paint and labor from the Memphis City Schools Facilities Department.
Grizzlies Mike Conley and Darrell Arthur, along with Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr. and Grizzlies staff members, were on hand to promote a healthy lifestyle by encouraging students to make healthier food choices and to exercise regularly.
“I think it is very important for kids to stay active and fit in order to just keep a healthy lifestyle,” said Conley. “Not everybody is going to grow up to be an athlete, but you can still find time to work out and eat right. It all helps with your lifestyle later in life.”
The new fitness room, which features internet streaming video, a classroom set of basketballs, padded flooring, Xbox 360 Kinect game systems, an interactive fitness library and a Grizz growth chart, was designed to get the students of LaRose Elementary excited about exercising in new and fun ways.
“The important thing is to get children thinking about physical fitness at a young age,” said Mayor Luttrell. “If you get them involved and show them that it can be fun and healthy, when you get children thinking that way as they grow into adulthood, they will take that importance of exercise with them.”
On Saturday, Oct. 27 the Memphis Grizzlies participated in the Children’s Museum of Memphis Kids Market with inflatables and members of the Grizzlies entertainment team. That evening, the Grizzlies hosted MVP Movie Night for all MVP Season Ticket Holders where they were joined by Tony Wroten Jr. as they trick-or-treated through the “Grave Yard” and enjoyed a Halloween movie on the big screen.
The 11th Annual Tip-Off Luncheon presented by First Tennessee Bank took place on Monday, Oct. 29 at FedExForum where Grizzlies fans were given the chance to welcome back and talk to the entire team of players and coaches about the upcoming season.
Luncheon goers had the chance to take part in the silent and live auctions held throughout the event featuring unique memorabilia and one-of-a-kind fan experiences with all proceeds benefitting the Memphis Grizzlies House at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Attendees had the chance to hear four year old Ingram “The Conqueror” Dismuke’s inspiring story of his fighting battle with an aggressive brain tumor called anaplastic ependymoma.
With these efforts, the Memphis Grizzles have not just gotten fans excited about the 2012-13 season, but they have reached throughout the Memphis community helping to stress the importance of education, health and wellness. Throughout Grizz Week, all of the activities and events have benefited the Memphis community in some way giving back to the place Memphians call home.