By Lee Eric Smith
Mike Conley officially signed his $153 million contract on Thursday. Then he promptly donated $1 million to the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation — which was then immediately matched by the franchise itself.
At an MVP and media-only press conference on the floor of FedExForum, Conley spoke about how happy he was to be back home in Memphis, the arrival of his baby son in two weeks and the violence and unrest — and the role he sees himself playing in finding solutions.
“The situation in many urban neighborhoods throughout the country is volatile. It feels like all too often we play witness to senseless tragedies like the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the shootings in Dallas, all punctuated by civic protest and unrest,” Conley said.
“Today, too many of our young people grow up with too few opportunities and no hope. That has to change. Closing the achievement gap is important. Access to opportunity is imperative. The support of caring adult mentors is critical. There is no quick fix,” he said. “Still we all have to do better. We have to be accountable to see that all kids have what they need to be successful in school and in life. And we all need to be part of the solution.”
Watch Mike Conley’s remarks to media after the formal press conference: