Grizzlies celebrate by giving back to fans - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Grizzlies celebrate by giving back to fans

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Courtesy ESPN The Magazine / Twitter.com/ESPNMag Courtesy ESPN The Magazine / Twitter.com/ESPNMag
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

The Memphis Grizzlies are recognizing their honor in being named the country's No. 1 franchise in professional sports by ESPN the Magazine with a celebration with fans Tuesday and giving back to the community in dedicating a new basketball court.

Tuesday evening between the team held a ribbon-cutting for the revitalized basketball court at Southside Park. The court was improved under the Grizzlies Healthy Home Court initiative that is intended to provide children with access to healthy options.

MORE: ESPN Magazine says Grizzles best sports franchise

It took less than a year to completely transform Southside Park. Mayor A C Wharton, members of the Grizzlies -- guard Jerryd Bayless, and guard/forward Quincy Pondexter.

"It was such an awesome feeling to see that, to be a part of something so special has been awesome," Pondexter said about the magazine's top franchise rating.

"I love giving back to the community because I know what the community back home did for me," Pondexter added. "Without so many people's help I wouldn't be where I am today, so its truly a blessing to be able to give back."

In a recent issue that hit stands Sept. 13, ESPN The Magazine named the Grizzlies the No. 1 franchise in professional sports. The designation takes into account the quality of the play. Last season the Grizzlies advanced to the NBA Western Conference Finals for the first time.

"They're certainly No. 1," Mayor Wharton said. "I can't think of another team anywhere that for such a short time they've been here, become so embedded in the community."

The franchise designation also took into account the price for tickets. A Grizzlies ticket is one of the best values in basketball. According to FanCostExperience.com, the average price for a Grizz ticket is under $30. Compare that to the New York Knicks at more than four times that.

The Grizzlies organization calls it accessibility.

"What's great about Memphis, we have such broad support in your average family can come to a game, watch on TV, see us in the park, be a part of what we do, said Grizzlies COO Jason Wexler.

It also looks at community involvement. Tuesday evening's court dedication is a perfect example. It seems not a week goes by that someone from the team is working in the community or giving back to their own personal charity.

The Grizzlies are excited to be named the top franchise in American sports by ESPN The Magazine, but the goal is to be No. 1 at the end of the playoffs. The season kicks off in just a few weeks.

"I am so excited, so, so excited," Pondexter said. "It's right around the corner. I can't wait to lace 'em up and get to training camp with my teammates. I hope we have a great start to the next season."

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