The minute hand has three more revolutions to make before first light, yet the Tomb is abuzz, even at such a rare hour as this, fueled by the anticipation of what the sunrise will bring. At 6:17am, light will start sweeping across Memphis, and, in doing so, symbolically complete the cleansing of a city and of a basketball program. A new day begins for a city now free from the sleazy, for a basketball program now free from the slimy.
It is only fitting that today ushers in a new mayor and a new coach. It's poetic even, given how much Memphis and Tiger Basketball are intertwined. Memphis has given Tiger basketball a brand new Tomb of Doom but also a hungry, tired people, desperately desiring something to rally behind. Tiger basketball has given Memphis national exposure and an economic stimulus but also a source of pride. Both the former mayor and the former coach realized the financial upside of such a symbiotic relationship, but neither appreciated the people's need for truth and unification. Such talk of unification made the previous mayor "sick", and truth, well that was nowhere is the previous coach's vocabulary.
Yet, Memphis overcame. We amassed behind Tiger basketball, not because of the coaches, or the new uniforms, or the records, but because of the guys on the court who inspired us, who allowed us to share in their successes, and support them in their shortcomings. Sure, Memphis has the Grizzlies, the Redbirds, Beale St., the Zoo, Graceland, Sun Studios, even Mud Island, but, besides Christmas, Tiger basketball is the only reason the First Tennessee Bank building turns its colored lights on. What a sense of solidarity and pride to see a "M" and "Go Tigers" spelled out in blue lights on a downtown building! The fact that a corporation would use such effort and resources to show its support, speaks volumes to the power of Tiger basketball.
Now, on this new day, Friday, October 16th, at 7:30pm, the new scope of that power, tried and transformed during the summer, will finally be unveiled to the nation at Memphis Madness. Our Coach Pastner will get to show off all the hard work he has put into revitalizing a team that was utterly decimated over the off-season. He will also show off the four and five star recruits he has lined up for next year. Yes, he has done all of this without ever having coached a game at the college level. We WILL succeed this year, and for many, many years to come.
Finally, Memphis and Tiger basketball can take a step forward, together. And I can think of no better way to celebrate this than a performance by Yo Gotti! Doors open at 7:00, Memphis! Be there!