MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - There are kind hearts inside the ferocious Memphis Grizzlies.
Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins and two players, Darrell Arthur and Wayne Ellington, were in Hickory Hill on Friday, December 28 meeting fans, but more importantly, generating dollars for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
It may be something you thought you would never see; NBA stars bagging groceries. But, it happened and it was appreciated.
The event gave the team a chance to connect with fans, the fans a chance to meet players, and everybody a chance to help our kids.
“I’m proud of the Grizzlies,” shouted Nelise Wilson, “Go Grizz!”
Wilson was just one of many fans who gathered at the Wal-Mart on Hickory Hill Extended on Friday. Usually when Wilson sees Darrell Arthur, he’s dunking a basketball, not groceries, like he was at Wal-Mart.
“We’re supporting a good cause,” Arthur told abc24.com, “Le Bonheur Hospital. I’m just doing my part to get as many donations as we can.”
It was all part of Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins Charities Day, bagging groceries, signing autographs and collecting donations for Le Bonheur. Hollins and company attracted a large crowd.
“I’m surprised, but happy,” Hollins said, “it’s always nice when you organize something that people support.”
“They help the community,” said 14-year-old Grizzlies fan Rodarious Wilson, “and show us their love.”
Long range gunner Wayne Ellington was dropping Pop-Tarts in a sack instead of 3's from behind the arc.
“Anything that can give back to the children,” said Ellington, “or people who aren’t as fortunate, it is always a great cause. “
The event for Le Bonheur was just one of many organized by Hollins because he understands need.
“I’ve always come from an under-served environment.” Hollins said.
“It’s cool just being around the people and trying to support them,” added Arthur.
For Hollins and his players, the Le Bonheur event was about paying it forward.
“It is part of why we’ve been blessed with what we have,” said Hollins, “in order to be a blessing for other people.”
But it was also about connecting with fans.
“We play off the fans' energy,” Arthur told abc24.com.
“The Grizzlies,” said 6-year-old fan Davayon Todd, “they help their community.”
“It’s nice,” said Nelise Wilson, “it’s a nice event for the kids.”
Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong and boxing champ Roy Jones Jr. were on hand to support Hollins.