Memphis Grizzlies players, coaches give back in honor of MLK Day

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Stuffing bookbags with supplies, painting a mural, writing encouraging notes, these were just some of the ways the Memphis Grizzlies spruced up Springdale Elementary on Thursday.

“It’s powerful for these guys to understand the impact they make not just as basketball players, but as members of society,” said head coach Taylor Jenkins.

Jenkins said although it’s the norm for NBA teams to spend MLK weekend doing service work, he and his players know helping this school in particular is more than just a random choice.

“Today’s an opportunity to come out, the integration that happened 60 years ago here, the Memphis 13, having three of those former students speak to us was powerful,” he said.

Grizzlies forward Xavier Tillman added, “Since I’ve been in the NBA, we’ve always done some type of service event and those are the most humbling times for me so every time I get a chance to do it, I go and I go all out.”

But the service is not just a one-day event.

Volunteer Memphis kicked off its annual five days of service on Thursday evening.

“When it comes to the MLK Days of Service, they align very well with what Volunteer Memphis is all about. We’re all about connecting the community or people with the community and helping to provide services that are not readily available,” said Vernon Stafford Jr, chair of the Leadership Memphis board.

From Thursday until Monday, thousands of people will volunteer for a Health and Wellness day at community centers, a community cleanup and more.

Stafford Jr. added that service should be a year-round cause.

“There’s a lot of be done in our city so we encourage you to sign up with Volunteer Memphis, not just on days of service, but all throughout the year.”

To find out about service opportunities this weekend, you can visit the Volunteer Memphis website.