MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Whether it is in Columbus, Ohio or here in Memphis, the excitement is on for the Tigers as they tip off Friday in the NCAA tournament.
One Memphis fan has a special artistic connection with the team.
A stroke of genius does not have to take time. It just takes an idea, creativity, and passion.
“Let’s go Tigers! Let’s go,” said Melony Walker, Creative Dizign owner.
It is a cheer from one of the Memphis Tigers’ biggest fans.
“My son and my kids, they always say, ‘Ma, everybody knows you as the paint lady.’ Then I said, well my name is Melony,” said Walker.
She is also known as the Paint Lady.
“Creative Dizigns spelled with the Z not the S.”
Walker taught art to youth for 11 years before opening her own studio.
“It’s something expressive,” said Walker describing the way she shows love and support for her Memphis Tigers as well as Head Coach Penny Hardaway.
"I’ve been knowing Penny all my life," she said. "I knew Penny even before he went pro. I just started doing the t-shirts and the paintings. Then it got big. We went to the Team Penny. Then the Team Penny got so big that Nike people …everybody was wearing Team Penny.”
Naturally, Walker is also known as the "Team Penny Lady." She has given just about all of Penny’s players throughout the years a painting.
Following Penny over the years, Walker watched his devotion to giving back.
“I said I’m going to outdo you,” said Walker. “I can give my talent. If I give a lot of my talent, it just equals up to how much money you spend. I know you have money, but that’s going balance us out.”
She gives 10% of her earning to kids. When they accomplish a goal such as winning a championship, she gives them free paintings. They are what she calls "Customized Painted Awards."
“It gets the kids motivated," she said. "We have a lot of kids that get into things. With me giving back, I might touch three or four more kids to give back …We’re going to stick together through the bad, the good and the struggle. We’re going to stick together in Memphis.”
She is paying it forward through talents, a true masterpiece.
“Memphis is my heart. It’s love,” said Walker.