At long last, the premier Memphis Tigers Basketball event, season kickoff, and glorified pep rally for newly-minted Head Coach Penny Hardaway’s first season has been announced, and the Memphis faithful was ravenously hungry to devour the news:
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The University of Memphis will host Memphis Madness on Thursday, Oct. 4, at FedExForum and feature head coaches Penny Hardaway and Melissa McFerrin, the men’s and women’s basketball teams, live music on the plaza, spirit squads, Pouncer, The Mighty Sound of the South, family fun and more.
Memphis Madness will begin with live music on the plaza, starting at 5 p.m. Gates will open at 6 p.m. and both teams will be available for autographs on the concourse. The on-court program will begin at 7 p.m.
All seats will be reserved, and tickets for Memphis Madness will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 8 a.m. Plaza and Club Level seats are $10 each, while all Terrace level seats are $5. There is a limit of six seats per purchase.
Memphis Madness boasts a history nearly as rich as the basketball team that it celebrates. When the program is humming along nicely, Madness serves as an invaluable recruiting tool for the high school players in attendance. When the program is in disarray, however, the Madness can instead become more sane than celebratory, like a once-popping bar that is no longer “the spot” anymore, and 15-20 random people depressingly dot the dance floor and tables throughout. Still, even from its fairly recent years, fans may remember such noteworthy moments as Rick Ross’ parental advisory performance, DJ Stephens’ preposterously difficult dunks, and when Bruce Pearl — at that time serving a coaching suspension — MC’d the event but first stepped out in Tennessee Volunteer orange in a fake troll move.
The announcement got me thinking: what are things I want to see at Madness and, conversely, things I definitely do not want to see? Well:
Things the CHIEF definitely wants to see at Memphis Madness:
— LIL PENNY MC’s the entire event, complete with voiceover narration and comedic improv from the original voice: Chris Rock.
— A dunk contest in which FR guard Tyler Harris aka Mr. First 48 — standing at a mighty 5-9 — performs a between the legs dunk alley oop a la Nate Robinson on an assist from fellow FR guard Alex A-Lo Lomax, and takes home the GOLD.
— SHAQ — a #FriendOfPenny — sitting court-side with a 2000s-era video camera so he can reenact this moment during said dunk contest:
— A performance by Moneybagg Yo and during ‘BIG FACTS’, Yo Gotti emerges from the tunnel and joins in the last verse.
— A three-point contest in which Assistant Coach Mike Miller participates. Bonus points if Coach Miller advances to the championship against fellow sharpshooter and proponent of “rezball” FR forward David Wingett and DW convincingly toasts him, firing up fans as we all collectively high-five each other and proclaim, “dude, we have the best [expletive] shooter in college basketball!”
— Memphis native son Justin Timberlake surprises and shocks the audience with an appearance, renounces all LA-based sports fandom, and leads the entire crowd in the University of Memphis fight song as such:
— After the fight song, JT invites Drake out from the tunnel, only he’s wearing a Kentucky sweatshirt. After some raucous boos, Drake strips off the dirty UK rags revealing a Memphis jersey with “Drake” on the back, then Drake proclaims “[expletive] Kentucky and [expletive] Cal, we in this bitch, 901!” and we all belt the University of Memphis fight song again together, even louder than the last time.
— As the event crescendos to the penultimate finale, the lights darken completely, the recognizable guitar strum of ‘EYE OF THE TIGER’ begins, quiet at first. Building. The fans unsure of what’s happening but feeling the palpable excitement. The lights burst on and reveal Penny and the whole 1992 team is standing arm-in-arm along with “PAST” on the jumbotron. The lights darken again. When they spark back on, the 2008 team is standing arm-in-arm. Joey Dorsey, CDR, D-Rose, Shawn Taggert, Robert Dozier, and Tone all begin pulling a rope and hoisting the 2008 NCAA Runner Up Banner to the rafters, confirming that the team was successful in its appeal. “PRESENT” flashes across the jumbotron. Everyone goes nuts. Lights off for one last time. “FUTURE” lights across the screen, and the spotlight turns on reveal your 2018-2019 Tigers. This season’s hype video is unveiled and the entire Forum explodes with excitement over the upcoming season, because, folks… WE’RE BACK!
Things the CHIEF definitely does NOT want to see at Memphis Madness:
— Penny riding a motorcycle to enter the arena, or really anything reminding me that the Tubby Smith era was a thing that happened in real life. In fact, this sentence right now is the last time I type “Tubby Smith era.” But before I do so, Ima just leave this here:
Side note: if Penny DID ride in on a motorcycle, I have no doubt he would cruise effortlessly across the floor and power slide right in front of the court-side seats removing his sunglasses, kissing an elderly boosters’ hand, and revealing flowers for her from behind his back in one continued motion.
— Closed beer stands and shitty frozen chicken tenders/burger patties as the only grub. C’mon FedEx Forum, make a play here. Let’s get Wing Stop in full flex mode. I also wouldn’t hate the Ghost River beer stand being open for business.
— Too much Pouncer. Now I love the UofM mascot as much as the next guy, but there’s not enough Pouncer, perfect amount of Pouncer, and too much Pouncer. Let’s keep ‘er right there in the middle, man. True mascot equilibrium.
— Disinterested dunk contest judges. Last year (*shudders*), Memphis alum and former Grizz, Tyreke Evans, was called upon to judge the “dunk contest.” Instead of watching the dunks, however, Reke scrolled through his phone the entire time, holding up an “8” no matter how difficult the dunk, and only when he realized he hadn’t yet raised his number and everyone was waiting on him. No thanks. Give me an engaged DJ Stephens over Tinder-ing Tyreke trying to get it in.
Regardless, whether I’m right or wrong in my predictions, Memphis Madness is sure to be a good time and the hottest event in town that evening. I hope to see you there. Wear your tiger ears. Fans can purchase tickets beginning Wednesday, Sept. 5, by visiting www.GoTigersGoTix.com, or by calling 901.678.2331. #GTG!
[banner image: Go Tigers Go]