Do You Still Believe Memphis?
Like many of you my heart sank as the clock ticked down on our chance to advance to the Western Conference NBA finals, but maybe not for the same reason. As a community organizer I spend a great deal of my time, some would say too much time, on social issues. My life's work is all about trying to make Memphis a better place to live. I saw the success of the Grizzlies as an opportunity to bring Memphians together and that is just what happened. I had the surprising pleasure of sitting next to former Mayor Herenton at one of the Grizzlies' home games, as his eyes gazed around the FedEx Forum he said, "This is why I enjoy coming to these games. It is one of the most diverse crowds you'll find any where. You have young and old, rich and poor, black and white. This IS Memphis." I couldn't agree more.
As my friends will contest I was a Grizz fan long before it became the thing to be. Walking around the city in my well worn Grizzlies' cap I would see "Believe Memphis!" signs all over, I'm welcomed with "Go Grizz!" by strangers and you better know what Z-Bo means if you're going to hold any respectable conversation.
The Grizzlies have exceeded pundits expectations, taken down more noted teams and silenced the naysayers. Far more importantly they gave a city, that all too often focuses on its differences, a reason to come together. I've witnessed over these past few months the raw power Memphians have and a spirit that could bring you to tears.
Throughout their incredible run the Grizzlies have called on us to "Believe." It's a slogan that goes far deeper than a basketball game.
Even though in game seven against the Thunders our dreams of going to the finals were dashed this time, I say don't put away those "Believe Memphis" shirts, signs and towels. Let this be a spark to greater things. Don't lose the hope, don't slide back into the self-loathing that holds this city back. I for one still Believe!