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Grizzlies Lose, but Memphis Still a Winner on MLK Jr. Day

Memphis shows the nation that even if the Grizz struggle, the city is still progressing.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Leaving the Forum yesterday I found myself fighting the strongest urge to kick something, or someone, as well as the desire to let loose a string of profanity to describe my feelings towards Tony Brothers and Rudy’s last second, er… "heroics."

But as I was ruminating in the darker side of Grizzly fandom, a place I feel we all have frequented during the past weeks, my friend who attended the game with me, a college buddy from Pennsylvania, commented on how fortunate he felt to be able to experience the MLK celebrations before and during the game.

And of course he is right; in a place such as Memphis which harbors a past fraught with racial tension and violence, the fact that we as a city are able to honor those who have devoted years of service to the causes of equality and human rights on a national platform speaks volumes of the progress we have achieved.

That is one of the reasons I love my Memphis Grizzlies. Especially in the past two years, there is nothing else that comes close to unifying the city more than the Grizz. Black people, white people, it doesn’t really matter what your skin color is; you cheer together, boo together, and high five one another all the same.

Basketball may be just a game, and in the end the players on the court are professional athletes, but what the Grizzlies organization brings to Memphis transcends basketball, and is far bigger than any one player. It brings a sense of community, and a commonality which we all can share.

So yeah, when the nation watched the game yesterday on ESPN they saw a Grizz team struggling, they saw an offensive scheme that for some reason thinks a seven point performance from Z-Bo is acceptable, and they saw a Rudy Gay who lives in an alternate universe where 1.7 seconds allows you a couple of dribbles.

But they also saw a city that continues to strive towards racial equality and unity, and who chooses to honor those that take a stand in the name of these things.

That’s something I can be proud of. Go Grizz. Go Memphis.