Love for Memphis - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Love for Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

For years Memphis has fought an inferiority complex.  But suddenly we seem to be quickly growing out of that thanks to a new generation, and a number of successes that prove this is the little city that can.

FOX13 News caught up with a few thousand Grizz fans on the way into the FedExForum, but it's easy to love home when the home team is one of the best in the NBA.

Of course, sports can change a city's image, even from the inside out.

Commercial Appeal sports columnist Geoff Calkins says sports can be symbolic of change. He says he noticed it two years ago in the second quarter of a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder when people held up their "I Believe" towels.

"The towels said 'I Believe' in this place, I believe in my neighbors, I believe that this community which has stumbled and fallen and shot itself in the foot so many times," Calkins said. "I have great faith in the power of Memphians."

To understand the enlightenment of the present, you have to get a grip of this city's not so enlightened past. Sixty years ago, Memphis and racial divide were synonymous, from desegregation to the sanitation workers strike.

Then, the gunshot that shaped a generation - the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., at the Lorraine Motel.

Memphis struggled to keep up for the next three decades. It was a hangover of sorts that only time and wiser choices could cure.

Who is this next generation?

It's John Carrol's job to find them and help them find their place in the Bluff City.

His non-profit organization, City Leadership, is out to show 20-somethings that Memphis is and will be what they make of it.

Carroll notes there aren't many cities like Memphis, where you can make such an immediate impact.

Victory Bike Shop on Broad Avenue has that kind of impact.

Clark Butcher and Robert Taylor run a high-end small business where your two wheeler can easily cost in the neighborhood of $2,500.

But this shrewd tandem says Victory Bike can absolutely fly in Memphis and are happy they chose the Bluff City over traditional biking cities like Portland, Ore., or San Francisco.

When that quality of life meets a cost of living that's below the national average, you have the seeds for growth.

Memphis is ranked fifth in the nation in the bang for your buck category according to the Council for Community and Economic Research. 

It's said that sports is symbolic of life, and it's no stretch to say the Grizzlies are the embodiment of this new generation of Memphians.

They came here looking for a better place, and after shaking off that losing feeling, they've become a power to be reckoned with.

Commercial Appeal Columnist Geoff Calkins looks at five men on a wooden court inside a state-of-the-art basketball arena, and see the hopes and dreams of an entire community.

"The Grizz are a great example because what did we hear when they came here," Calkins said. "‘They are going to be gone in five years.' We heard, ‘The building is going to be over budget and late,' or ‘It's going to be a boondoggle'. We heard, ‘No one is going to come.' All the negative with all of that. What happened instead is that now the building is beautiful, it came in on budget on the dot, on time, and the team that occupies it represents all that we like about ourselves."

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