MEMPHIS – 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. The winner will be able to direct a $100,000 grant from ESPN to the qualified charity related to the award-winning humanitarian 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. Hosted by Laila Ali and ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, the event will take place on July 11 at L.A. LIVE’s The Novo and will be showcased during a one-hour long program on ESPN on July 25, at 8 p.m. CT.
Other finalists in the running for the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year include the Chicago White Sox, New York City Football Club and the San Francisco 49ers.
During the event, winners will be announced from nominees of three returning award categories: Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year, Corporate Community Impact Award and League Humanitarian Leadership Award. New this year is the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award (changed from last year’s Sports Humanitarian of the Year) to honor the legacy of Muhammad Ali’s impact on society. Additionally, three Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award honorees will be recognized.
For more information on the Grizzlies’ community initiatives and programs, visit grizzlies.com/community, ‘like’ the Grizzlies on Facebook or follow on Twitter (@memgrizz). Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies and purchase 2017/18 Season Tickets can do so by calling (901) 888-HOOP or going online to Grizzlies.com