This Saturday will mark the fifth year of the Tour de Grizz, a bike ride for Grizzlies fans from the Memphis Zoo to FedExForum. In the four year history of Tour de Grizz, the Grizzlies have won every game.
“We are bringing a clean 4-0 record into this year’s fifth installment of Tour de Grizz,” said Jason Potter, the Director of Promotions and Events for the Grizzlies. “I can’t imagine a more important regular season game to test the streak against than the one we’ll see this Saturday against the Clippers.”
The event is a part of the NBA’s Green Week. A week dedicated to raising awareness about our ecological impact on the world around us. All 30 NBA franchises participate by hosting different activities like recycle drives and neighborhood clean-ups.
“I think the Tour de Grizz is the most unique event of the season,” said Potter. “We came up with the event to teach fans about adopting healthy and environmentally friendly practices in their life, in this case riding a bike… I think the fans like it because it’s a hands-on way to be a part of NBA’s Green Week.”
Supporting alternative forms of transportation, like bike riding, instead of taking cars is one way to cut down on the emission of greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) into the atmosphere.
In addition to cutting down on greenhouse gases, the trek is a nice way for fans to enjoy the Memphis scenery.
“When you ride your bike through the neighborhoods of our city, you get a feel for it in a different way than you do in a car,” Potter professed. “Add to that the fact that you are riding in a group of several hundred Grizzlies fans, and all of a sudden you have this giant rolling pep rally full of positive Memphis and Grizzlies energy.”
That “positive Memphis and Grizzlies energy” may be the secret to the Grizzlies perfect 4-0 mark on the Saturday of the bike ride. The team will attempt to keep this streak alive when the hated Clippers come to town.
Everyone remembers the Clippers eliminated Memphis in an excruciating game seven at FedExForum last season, and now the two teams are neck and neck for home court advantage in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
The Grizzlies will need all the positive energy they can get on Saturday, as they are two games behind the Nuggets for the third seed in the West (a game back in the win/loss column, but Denver owns the tie-breaker), and just a game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for home court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
As if going to a Grizzlies game with so much at stake was not enough, fans can also go into the zoo before the bike ride, and see the actual grizzly bears located at Teton Trek. “I think Memphis’s other grizzlies (the actual bears) are best viewed at Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo,” Potter replied when asked if there was a chance that the grizzly bears would accompany riders to Th Grindhouse.
“This is my favorite of the Green Week activities,” Potter said, “I feel like Tour de Grizz is an educational platform that’s a lot of fun at the same time. It’s very special, and something that I think everyone who loves the Grizzlies, bikes, and our city should experience.”
Here is hoping that the support from the city leads to another Tour de Grizz Saturday win. After all, home court and (more importantly) the Tour de Grizz win streak depend on it.
CJ Hurt covers NBA basketball for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from games.