The Memphis Grizzlies set a nice precedent for the league when they initiated a tickets-for-guns promotion for the upcoming NBA preseason, as reported by The Memphis Commercial-Appeal on Sept. 10. The positives definitely outweighed the negatives and this may be something other NBA cities will want to look into.
Each franchise has a large presence and plays an influential role in the fabric of its respective community. An initiative like this would only enhance the work that they are already doing.
Are there better, more effective ways to go about this? Maybe there are, maybe there aren't. That bridge will be crossed when it's reached. Perhaps other ideas and community partnerships will spawn from this one, but the Grizzlies and the Memphis community are the catalyst.
The downside to this is the fact that a lot of people brought a lot of guns to one location at the same time. One can only hope that promotions of this nature always go off without any incidents or accidents.
The upside was that it took place at the Bloomfield Baptist Church. Everyone was able to receive their tickets and up to $150 in Mapco gas cards for the guns that they turned in.
No doubt it went much smoother since it was done in advance at another location. Imagine the hassles of trying to get this done outside of the gates of the FedEx Forum before tip-off. Well played by the Grizzlies.
This doesn't appear to be some sort of one-time, flash-in-the-pan endeavor either. There may be more opportunities for the city and the Grizzlies to do this again. Memphis seems serious about gun violence and it all starts with Mayor A. C. Wharton, Jr and goes from there.
In addition to this, he is taking steps to bring in outreach and intervention workers:
As part of our work to keep yng people from using guns, the Innovation Team is hiring outreach & intervention workers. bit.ly/P93Q3I
— A C Wharton, Jr (@MayorACWharton) September 11, 2012
Maybe next time the promotion could include tickets to a regular-season game instead of a preseason game. That would definitely help increase the incentive to support this type of initiative.
Memphis is the fifth-most dangerous city in America. One gun at a time, every little bit helps. Hats off to the city of Memphis and the Grizzlies for setting a fine example for not only their own city, but every city that's home to a pro sports franchise no matter the sport, and every city and town in the nation.