Reasons I Love Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee is like that strange family member you don’t quite know what to do with and yet love anyway because of their quirks and passion. That family member may be rough around the edges, possibly even a little sketchy, but when push comes to shove they will fight for those they love with a tenacity that is unmatched. That is the city of Memphis. After the madness known as the NBA Playoffs here in Memphis and all the press the nation devoured about the city, I decided to sit down and put down some reasons why I love calling the 901 home.

  1. How many cities can definitely call itself the “Home of the Blues” and the “Birthplace of Rock-n-Roll”?
  2. Speaking of music, we produced legends such as Booker T and the MG’s, The Bar-Kays, Eightball and MJG, Three 6 Mafia, Issac Hayes, BB King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Project Pat, Elvis, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Justin Timberlake, Johnny Cash, and numerous others.
  3. Memphis has the distinction of being referenced in more songs than any other city on the planet. (Here’s proof)
  4. Our food is arguably the best in the world, and we will fight anyone who disagrees.
  5. We’ve been selected as one of the few cities in the world invited to bid on the 2024 Summer Olympics, which is a huge honor in itself.
  6. National Geographic named Memphis as one of the top 20 places in the world to visit in 2013. Not bad.
  7. Our pro basketball team, the Grizzlies, has risen from NBA bottom dwellers to playing in the Western Conference Finals (we were swept by the Spurs). The Grizzlies are one of the few pro teams that really embodies the city they represent. Full of guys who were originally overlooked (Quincy Pondexter, Marc Gasol), rough around the edges and in search of redemption (Zach Randolph), or genuine nutcases that could win the race for mayor (Tony Allen). They are rough, physical, and full of heart, just like Memphis, and this is why we love them. (Read Lee Jenkins’ amazing Sports Illustrated feature about the Grizz’s playoff run). I could write an entire blog devoted to the Grizzlies and the importance of this past season to the city and it’s potential long-term effects.
  8. You know what city park covers five times the area as New York’s Central Park? Shelby Farms right here in Memphis.
  9. The city is in the process of evolving and improving every year, with new arts, theater, and shopping districts popping up in areas such as Overton Square, Cooper-Young, Midtown, and parts of South Main and North Main downtown.
  10. Our sports radio shows are filled with boyish enthusiasm, blaring rap music, and mystery thugs from North Memphis who poorly sing “We Will Rock You” before games.
  11. We are home to some amazing churches that do fantastic work in the communities here.
  12. St. Jude Children’s hospital.
  13. A local rap group (Three 6 Mafia) won an Oscar for Best Original Song.
  14. Only in Memphis does everyone know the address of the jail by heart: 201 Poplar. It’s so common that saying you “were at 201” is enough to bring a knowing nod out of everyone.
  15. One of our local weathermen has a “side hustle” at his church.
  16. The arena announcer for the Grizzlies does the same thing.
  17. Only at Jerry’s Sno Cones does every demographic from “thugs” to businessmen in suits stand in line in the hot sun to get food.
  18. Our zoo is one of the best in the country.
  19. Even celebrities have to make reservations at our restaurants.
  20. Our weather has the personality of a bipolar teenage girl during her time of the month. You never know what it’s going to do.
  21. Seeing cars with “Midtown is Memphis” bumper stickers next to cars with “Memphis is Memphis” bumper stickers.
  22. A half dozen donuts at Gibson’s are only $1.50 after 11 PM. Also, red velvet donuts.
  23. People from the suburbs “braving” the hood to get to all the good food.
  24. Knowing no matter how rough a neighborhood may look it’s full of some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.
  25. 25. Laughing at people from West Memphis, Arkansas claiming they’re true Memphians.
  26. When people from other cities find out you’re from Memphis you earn serious street cred. When I was in Chicago I was riding the subway, listening to music. A guy across from me motioned at me to take out my ear buds. He nodded at the Memphis Tigers hat I was wearing. “You from Memphis brother?” he asked. “Yes sir, born and raised. Lived there my whole life. There was an approving nod. “Word brother. That’s a rough city. I respect that man,” he said as he reached out for a fist bump. I was happy to pound it.
  27. People from other parts of the country ask you how their BBQ measures up to Memphis (Has happened multiple times, and none ever have).
  28. I was made fun of up North for saying I was from Tennessee. But when I said I was from Memphis, I wasn’t ridiculed any more. The city’s reputation as “The .45 tucked into the Bible Belt” spoke for me.
  29. We have the best minor league ballpark in America right in the middle of downtown.
  30. The smell of downtown during BBQ Fest.

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