Why Memphis (The City) Needs Memphis (The University) to Win the NCAA Basketball Championship

The city of Memphis has an inferiority complex and it’s not a very good one at that. (rimshot) How can I say that. I’ve lived here for more than 19 years that’s how. From my observations of those who live here, those who’ve moved away to get away from “that place” and those who moved away and THEN moved back, this city has “issues’, In fact I’ m reminded of what Jack Nicholson’s character “The Joker” said about Gotham City in the first Batman movie. This town needs an enema!!!” (Feel free to click on that link if you need to hear it from old Jack himself.) The same holds true for Memphis. (the city)

At one time in the late 50’s and early 60’s Memphis was considered to be THE rising star among southern cities. For a variety of reasons Memphis failed to achieve it’s potential. The murder of Dr. Martin Luther King at the Lorraine Motel dealt the city a blow that it’s never really been able to shake off. Oh, it’s tried and tried and there have been some rays of sunshine that have managed to pierce the gloom. The rebirth of the downtown area, the urban renewal efforts at the old housing projects, the arrival of an NBA team. But while Memphis is well-known for it’s blues and barbecue, it’s still best known as the location of two well-publicized deaths in the city. Dr. King and Elvis. That’s really a shame because despite its reputation, Memphis is NOT a bad place to live. Yes, I’ve paid what I called “the Midtown Tax” over the years in the way of two lawnmowers, a weed-eater, two radios out of my truck, a wheelbarrow, a camera and a gas can. I’ve even had a person mistake my house for his/hers. He/she must have forgotten the key to the front door because they tried to use a crowbar to get in. Fortunately Newby (our guard dog) was there to greet the person who left by the time I got to the front door. But I digress.

When I moved here in 1989 , I remember hearing people talk about how Memphis would get an NFL team before Nashville ever would. I also remember hearing about the rivalry between Memphis and Nashville and how Nashville had it’s brand of music and Memphis has its brand of music. There was also pride in the fact that Memphis was a larger city than Nashville. Okay, well Memphis at least has an NBA team. (We hope they can hang on to it and that they don’t move to Nashville.) Memphis missed the boat in consolidating governments and the chances of it happening now are slim. But that’s okay. That’s because the best show in town has to be the political arena. If you don’t believe it’s funny, check out how much everyone OUTSIDE of Memphis is laughing about it. The whacky antics of the mayor, bribery scandals, federal stings. Hey we’ve even got DEAD people voting.

Years prior to moving to Memphis if someone had told me I would live there I would have called that person not just a liar but a “damned liar”. Still, after moving here with my wife who grew up in East Memphis, I’ve come to like city cityt. Yes, it has more warts than a toad but every city does. Maybe it’s because Memphis either doesn’t try to hide them or maybe just can’t hide them. It’s kind of like having the crazy relative that shows up occasionally at the family reunion around you ALL the time. You’re not sure you want to see what happens next but you’re afraid NOT to watch as well.

I’m not kidding myself that a National Championship in basketball will solve any problems or even help ease any issues. But I can say I haven’t seen ANYTHING and I MEAN ANYTHING over the course of 19-years bring the focus of so much of the city to one point as this basketball team’s success has. For too long the city of Memphis collectively (black, white, rich and poor) has not had anything that everyone can be proud about. Now they have this opportunity. Memphis (the university) needs this win and so does Memphis (the city). I say “Go Tigers Go”. The city needs you to win. We need you to win. Remind us what it’s like to be winners.

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2 Comments on “Why Memphis (The City) Needs Memphis (The University) to Win the NCAA Basketball Championship”

  1. calipari Says:

    You jinxed us!!!!! nooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  2. the tall tv guy Says:

    As an alum of the U of M, I’ve enjoyed this basketball season, even though it’s tough since my cable company doesn’t offer CSTV. The end of the championship game was painful, but time helps.

    After going through an expensive study on building an on-campus stadium, word cames out from the university of no capital funds available for repairs and maintenance of existing buildings or no funds for new construction (state funds that is).

    While tuition continues to rise steeply, I’m very concerned about of the direction of the institution, the low priority of it from the power brokers in Nashville, and our leadership (or lack of it).

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