Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph has a reputation as one of the hardest working basketball players in the NBA. A tenacious rebounder and clutch shooter, “Z-Bo” has become a fan favorite in Memphis, reflecting the city’s blue-collar work ethic.
Off the court, Randolph has further endeared himself to the local fans with his commitment to giving back to his community. In recent months:
- he distributed 500 turkeys for Thanksgiving day meals,
- paid the electrical bills for over 100 families in Memphis, and
- organized a shopping spree for hundreds of kids at a local department store.
And during the Christmas season, he initiated a toy drive for families who otherwise might not have been able to provide gifts for their children.
On that last item, Randolph has some first-hand experience.
As a boy growing up in Marion, Indiana, Randolph received Christmas presents each Christmas through the Angel Tree program at his local church. “I was the kid who was at the Angel Tree and talking to my brother about how I hoped we’d get something nice,” he says in an article for Sports Illustrated. “Hopefully somebody with a bunch of money picked us, so we could get some clothes or get a nice gift.” It’s a vivid memory that is now spurring him on to help others in a similar fashion.
In the article, Randolph laments that local sports stars weren’t visible in his community—something he is working hard to rectify, both in his hometown and his current city of residence. “He goes into some of the neediest, least served neighborhoods in Memphis and he’ll know people by name. Kids, adults, everyone,” says Diane Terrell, the Grizzlies’ Vice President of Community Engagement. “The thing about Zach is he has these real relationships with people in the very communities that he’s investing in.”
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