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The Grizzlies Mean More than Basketball to Memphis

If the new owner does decide to move the Grizzlies, Memphis will lose more than just a basketball team, it will have a huge impact on local charities and the community.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - If the new owner does decide to move the Grizzlies, Memphis will lose more than just a basketball team, it will have a huge impact on local charities and the community.

Need utilities for Christmas? Call Zach Randolph.
Teach a child how to play basketball? Call Tony Allen.
Cheer up a sick child at St. Jude or Le Bonheur children's hospitals? Any number of the Grizzlies would step in to help.

The city hopes they still will.

What they do on the court fills the arena. What they do off the court fills the hearts of the needy.

Every year Memphis Grizzly Zach Randolph pays utility bills for a group of people who can't afford it. "I've been blessed in this position and fortunate enough to give back and these people appreciate it," Randolph said.

Tony Allen hosts a free basketball summer camp for underprivileged kids. "Sharing is caring," he said, "Anytime I can get the opportunity to help people."

It's the kind of dedication the city is grateful for.

"Between all of the times they've spent with gifts to us, both financially and with their time, it's made a huge difference," said Thomas Hobson, Director of Child Life Services at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.

Hobson says players come by the hospital a few times each year and their impact reaches far beyond the court.

"Rudy [Gay] heard about this kid, really wanted to come in, and when he met him, to see his face light up, for that moment he wasn't a child in the hospital, it was this overwhelming once in a lifetime opportunity to him."

Hobson hopes the new owner has the same dedication to the community.

In addition to private programs, The Grizzlies Foundation donates to St. Jude, paid for half of The Grizzlies House, and even has a charter school opening this July.

According to Jenny Koltnow, Executive Director of the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation, "It's a foremost priority, and I don't know if people in Memphis realize how special it is to have a team that is so involved in the community."

At this point all we've heard from the new possible owner, Robert Pera, is that he's committed to continuing the team's success in Memphis.

It's what fans are hoping for. A huge part of this team is what they give to the city.

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