Back when Lorenzen Wright and Shane Battier were on the court, another team was forming in Memphis. The Grizzlies Grannies and Grandpas are still hitting the court nearly two decades later.
Fans can still see the Grizzlies Grannies and Grandpas from the stands during a Grizz game.
“So exciting, so exciting, we just love it,” said Opal Smith.
At 71 years old, Smith has been on the team the longest for 16 seasons. She said the idea for the team started in ’05.
“That first year we didn’t have to try out,” Smith said.
Now more than 200 people audition every season, hoping for the chance to dance on the court with the senior squad.
Today, 71-year-old Scott Morrell practices for game day with the team for his third season.
“They had three optional prep classes, I went to all of them,” Morrell said. “I practiced at home and even recorded myself and watched myself to see how I was doing.”
Morrell says what happens in the FedEx Forum hallways and on the court is life-changing for those who have seen the Grizzlies rise over the decades.
“Earlier this season we had one dancer pass away,” Morrell said. “We took up collections and we’ve had tragedies and we bound together. I can’t imagine not being around all these people.”
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The team bonds through hours dedicated to practicing behind the scenes. They also practice on the court. hours before every home game.
The seniors prove that grit and grind don’t have an age limit.
“The oldest lady on the team is 79 years old,” Smith said. “She’ll be 80 years old this year, so it’s never too late to do what you dream of or what you like to do. The doors are open.”
Auditions are typically held every summer, for more information visit https://www.nba.com/grizzlies/grannies-grandpas.