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Back-to-back success for Grizz Gala

  • Written by Kelley Evans
  • Published in News

It’s six o’clock on a Saturday evening. Men and women dressed in formal attire are mixing and mingling with a group of guys who often are battling on the court at FedExForum. It’s six o’clock on a Saturday evening. Men and women dressed in formal attire are mixing and mingling with a group of guys who often are battling on the court at FedExForum.

For Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins, the Grizz Gala was a pleasure shared with family.

Food, fun and dancing helped punctuate the Second Annual Grizz Gala.

Zach Randolph signs an autograph for Bettye L. Boone of the Memphis Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. (Photos by Warren Roseborough)

This evening is different. Players, staff and fans have come together to represent and raise money for children and their families who are fighting a battle for life.

The Second Annual Grizz Gala – Feb. 12 at the Gold Strike Casino Resort – was an event honoring a group of humble little heroes, the patients of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Replete with food, fun and dancing, the gala benefited the Memphis Grizzlies House at St. Jude.

“This event is critically important to us,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., ALSAC’s chief executive officer. “St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital relies on public funds to operate. It costs $1.6 million to operate per day. Seventy one percent of that money comes from private donations. So events like this are critical for us and specifically this event benefits the Memphis Grizzlies House.”

Opened in 2004, the Memphis Grizzlies House is a short-term housing facility located on the campus of St. Jude. It can accommodate 100 families and features an enclosed playground, fitness room and basketball court.

“Supporting Memphis Grizzlies House at St. Jude is a pillar of our community efforts, so we are thrilled that we have the opportunity to bring our fans back together for the Second Annual Grizz Gala,” said Greg Campbell, Grizzlies president of business operations.

“Thanks to the help of Gold Strike Casino Resort, this blue tie affair has become one of the can’t miss events of the season that helps warm up the winter months in the Mid-South.”

The blue tie affair gave fans the opportunity to enjoy an intimate evening with Grizz players, coaching staff and the Grizz Girls. Players came ready to lend a hand by signing autographs, taking pictures and sharing personal testimonies on how important the event is to the City of Memphis and the families and patients of St. Jude.

“This events means a lot to us all,” said Grizz power forward Zach Randolph. “I’m happy to be here and be a part of the event.”

Guests had the opportunity to meet and participate in interactive games with Marc Gasol, Randolph, Mike Conley and the rest of the Grizzlies roster and coaches.

Attendees also took part in a live and a silent auction that held impressive collections of sports memorabilia and one-of-a-kind fan experiences with the Grizzlies, including a chance to board the team jet and sleep in the same hotel as the team during an away game.

Shadyac said the Grizzlies and owner Michael Heisley have pledged $55 million, proceeds from the event going toward that commitment.

“The Memphis Grizzlies have been wonderful partners for us,” Shadyac said. “I’m sure we’re gonna have a long term relationship with the Grizzlies, and they also do lots of other things for us. The team comes over and they see the kids and they play with the kids. It lifts their spirits to see their heroes live and in person.”

Last year’s fundraiser was such a great success, the decision to sponsor again was instantaneous, said George P. Corchis Jr., president and chief operating officer of MGM Resorts International Regional Operations, which includes the Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica.

“The Grizz Gala provides a wonderful opportunity for us to support two superstar organizations while presenting one of the most fun and interactive parties all year.”


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