As a point guard at UNLV and in the NBA, Greg Anthony understood that job No. 1 was pleasing those around him.
Former basketball player and current analyst Greg Anthony, center, pictured with Josh Pastner and Johnny Pitts, was the keynote speaker at the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club on Friday, Sept. 20.
And Friday, Sept. 20, in a speech before the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club at the Memphis Botanic Garden, Anthony showed that he could still make the winning play.
Anthony, who said he might one day run for political office as a Republican – “I’m very passionate about politics” – earned applause for his comments about the city of Memphis, the Grizzlies and the University of Memphis basketball team.
He has been an NCAA and NBA analyst, and this season he will be the lead college basketball analyst for CBS. In his playing days, Anthony lived at both the peak by winning the NCAA title in 1990 with UNLV and in the valley by playing on the first Grizzlies team in Vancouver.
“We were pretty bad,” he said.
Today, of course, the Grizzlies are fresh off earning top honors for a North American pro sports franchise based on fan data interpreted by ESPN The Magazine. Plus, the team is coming off a record 56-win season and franchise-first trip to the Western Conference Finals.
Anthony called first-year Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger “one of the bright young stars,” referred to Mike Conley as “one of the great young point guards in the league” and called Marc Gasol “one of my favorite centers.”
“They have a chance,” Anthony said, “to win that Western Conference and play for a world championship.”
University of Memphis coach Josh Pastner introduced Anthony, and after Pastner took his leave to hop a plane and go see a recruit, Anthony lauded Pastner for the job he has done following John Calipari.
“He’s coming off a more successful season than John Calipari had at Kentucky,” Anthony said to applause.
Anthony said he believes the new American Athletic Conference will help the Tigers. While the Tigers might not win as many regular-season games because of the step up in competition, he said, they will be better prepared for NCAA Tournament play.
“They’ll have been tested,” he said.
Speaking of Memphis at large, Anthony said, “I’m blown away by the pride I see in your city.”
Anthony shared a little bit about his own upbringing: His mother raised four children by three different fathers, and Anthony never met his dad. But he said he was fortunate to have teachers and coaches who served as mentors. He then praised the citizens of Memphis for moving the city forward and providing opportunities for all people.
He also said he believes leaders giving time to be far more valuable than giving money.