The Memphis Grizzlies have been named one of four finalists for the Third Annual Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award for their dedication to their community through organizations and initiatives such as Grizzlies Prep, Police Athletic League (PAL), GrizzFit and more. Teams and clubs across all sports were nominated for the award based on their commitment and impact in their respective communities.
Grizzlies Prep, the only public charter school in the nation branded by a NBA team, serves predominantly low-income boys living in underserved communities of color. During the past five years, the school has begun to close the achievement gap and currently ranks third in Reading and seventh in Math across all 38 Shelby County Middle Schools. The team’s support of the school has offered resources and student experiences inclusive of a student mentoring program, player and coach appearances and other special events.
This past year, the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation partnered with the Memphis Police department to create PAL, a police athletic league within the Greater Memphis Area dedicated to coach youth basketball and to bridge the gap between youth and police officers in the community. Through the PAL program, the entire Memphis Grizzlies coaching staff have used their expertise to coach, instruct and work with police officers, and in turn, those officers have acted as coaches, referees and mentors to young kids throughout the city.
The Grizzlies’ dedication to education, health and wellness is reflected in programs such as TEAM Mentor, Grizzlies Scholars, in partnership with Memphis Area Ford Dealers, and GrizzFit. TEAM Mentor offers 7th and 8th graders after-school sessions designed to help students acquire skills that position them for success in the global world by building relationships. The Grizzlies Scholars Program is a selective high school prep program for high-performing middle school students with a mission to increase the number of boys of color with access to academically rigorous, independent high schools. GrizzFit offers a fitness program designed to introduce youth to different forms of physical exercise while educating them to make healthier choices in life.
As a Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award finalist, the Grizzlies will be able to direct a $25,000 grant to the charity related to their award-winning efforts.
Presented by ESPN and sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Third Annual Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards celebrates and honors leagues, teams, individuals and members of the sporting community that are using the power of sport to make a positive impact on society.
Other finalists for the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year include the Chicago White Sox, New York City Football Club and the San Francisco 49ers.