THANK YOU, Z’BO AND C’BO. AND THANK YOU, MICHAEL. Last week, my son reminded me to write a column about the Grizzlies. So I did. This week, a good friend commenting on that column reminded me of why I write them in the first place, and then wrote one for me.
A little about basketball. A little about Memphis. All about heart.
Your column got me thinking about things; which as we both know, can be pretty dangerous. Not to mention, it makes my head hurt.
For me, a 6’9”, 260lb black power forward named Zach with a wicked inside game who goes by the moniker of Z’Bo, and a 3’9”, 46lb white kid named Charles with cerebral palsy who goes by the nickname C’Bo lend proof that this city is about something special. Randolph arrived here after playing for three other teams, had a trunk full of baggage, and was not generally given much chance to do well, much less lead the Grizz into the rarified air of the NBA playoffs. Charles arrived here three months early, had a hospital full of problems, and was not generally given a chance to survive, much less thrive and watch his hero drive the Grizz deep into the NBA playoffs.
Both have made the most of their second chance in the Bluff City.
Both Bo’s are full of the grit and grind that has become a badge of honor here. Z’Bo’s grit is on display in our state of the art Grind House where he resuscitated a career. For C’Bo, it was in our state of the art Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where he had to be resuscitated, several times. They both have had to put in thousands of hours of hard, grinding work to get to where they are. For Z’Bo, it’s been about learning to walk over the opposition. For C’Bo, it’s been about just learning to walk. And they’ve had to take that toughness on the road – for Z’Bo it’s walking into the lion’s den in Los Angeles or OKC, and for C’Bo it’s being wheeled into surgical dens at children’s hospitals in Memphis and St. Louis.
So, when I look at Charles and Zach I see not only my son and a basketball player – I see two people who are examples of what it means to be a Memphian. A man and a not yet man who are examples of how you don’t give up, you take the hit and keep grinding. I’m proud of them both.
So, when the naysayers of Memphis get revved up – whether in Los Angeles, Nashville, Germantown, or Midtown – we need to call ‘bulls--t’ because their predictions of doom and gloom are not any more accurate than the predictions about the Bo’s were. Your job is to keep writing columns that not only call attention to the great things in this town, but also call ‘BS’ when required.
Keep up the good work,
I’m a Memphian, and Michael Rowland just reminded me of how good that can feel.
Dan Conaway is a lifelong Memphian, longtime adman and aspiring local character in a city known for them. Reach him at email@example.com.