One-on-One with Mike Conley

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Nothing gets Mike Conley smiling more than talking about his family.

"Are you changing diapers?"

"I am changing diapers. I'm not good at it, but I'm doing it."

Doing it and loving it. He and his wife, Mary, have a new home in Collierville that they share with their new son Miles and loving dog Rio. Mikes said sometimes he still shakes his head at how fatherhood has changed him.

"Being a dad is definitely challenging - something all my friends and family members -- my dad told me would be tough. But we're doing great. My wife's great. My sons doing great. So I can't complain about a thing."

Mike and WREG's Richard Ransom sat down at Styx --his favorite restaurant at the Carriage Crossing Mall-- and no topic was off limits.

"I love music. I love all types of music. I love JT, that's my guy so I have to shout him out first, JZ, Chance the Rapper. I can go down the list of guys I like to listen to."

He even talked about serious subjects like race relations.

"Before people judge, I think everybody should do their homework and try to have open minds and understand different races and ethnicities and different situations and cultures that people are coming from in order to bridge that gap," he said.

He said he knows he's a role model to kids, and to him, it's not just part of the job. He embraces it. He said he enjoys spending time with young kids and has seen first hand the challenges facing a lot of kids right here in Memphis.

"What does your heart tell you? What are we not doing that we should be doing? What's missing? I know that's a loaded question to ask but when you see that on the news or hearing these different stories, what do you say to yourself?" asked Richard Ransom.

"When I look at the situation a lot of those kids get into, a lot of it can be traced back to parenting or making sure they have the right mentors and people around them to give them a stable foundation and the opportunity to succeed. I don't think a lot of kids here in Memphis get opportunities," he replied.

Conley said he was fortunate to have the support of his mom and dad, and they're the reason why he believes mentoring can make a difference.

"They need somebody. That's where I like to come in and know my teammates feel the same way. We want to go in and help as much as we can. We want to be there to support and give hope," Conley said.

"Talk to that teenager who may be watching this and looking at you and hearing what you're saying but maybe doesn't have that role model right now."

"I would say at the end of the day we're all individuals and we have power to make our own choices," said Conley. "You gotta take the big picture. You gotta be able to look past the fast lane and the things friends might be doing and the trouble that might be going on and stand up for someone special stand up for yourself."

Conley is proud to stand-up for Memphis. He added the comradery fans notice among the Grizzlies is a natural reflection of the genuine realness of the city they call home. They want to succeed.

"Memphis is home. Memphis is a beautiful place to raise my child and family. I think Memphis is progressive. We're trying to be better. Everybody's trying to do the right thing. I want to be a part of that. I want to be a part of the progress. I want to see the change. Not just from a distance but be a part of it hands-on and make this city as great as it can be."