The Memphis Grizzlies don't exactly suffer from attendance problems -- for one of the smaller markets in the NBA the team's 16th-ranked attendance figure from last season is pretty impressive — so the brains behind the team's front office aren't quite desperate to fill seats. Still, that hasn't stopped the team and the brains behind the franchise's front office from attempting a novel way to both reduce Memphis-area crime, and engage would-be Grizzlies fans. If you turn in your gun to a local Baptist church on Saturday, you'll score an early chance to see if this Tony Wroten fella is for real; because the Grizzlies are giving away free preseason tickets to anyone who decides to part with their firearm.
During a Saturday event at Bloomfield Baptist Church, the city and its partners in the effort will hand over a $50 Mapco gas card for every gun a person turns in, up to a limit of three guns, or $150 in free gas, per person. Everyone who turns in a gun will also get two free tickets to a pre-season Memphis Grizzlies game. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The guns will be received on a "no questions asked" basis and later destroyed, though members of the Memphis Police Department's Firearms Training Unit will be present.
Cackle all you want, defend the second amendment to the hilt, but you can't deny that this is a good thing.
I absolutely adore the city of Memphis, and have vacationed there a pair of times over the last few years. It's a wonderful city with unendingly cool things to visit and revisit, perched on an absolutely picturesque portion of the Mississippi delta.
It's also one of the most violent cities in America, "with a crime rate more than three times the national average" last year, according to U.S. News and World Report. This is an area just two years removed from the disappearance and brutal gun slaying of former Grizzlies center and Memphis native Lorenzen Wright; and though exhibition game tickets aren't the most highly coveted asset to exchange goods for, every little bit helps.
No questions asked, Memphis. Plus, we hear that Tony Wroten really is for real.