MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Thursday, Memphis Tigers basketball fans will get their first look at Penny Hardaway and the 2018-19 men’s and women’s teams at Memphis Madness.
Memphis Madness is a sell-out with over 18,000 people buying tickets for the big event.
Fans say Memphis Madness is finally getting back to what it used to be. It’s an event where the world first met a young Derrick Rose, where a 2008 Final Four banner was raised, and was always the kickoff to something special.
That has not been the case lately.
Basketball games were a snooze-fest. They were just boring," University of Memphis student Jessika Williams said.
Back to back less than stellar seasons meant Memphis basketball lost some of it’s magic.
Longtime events planner Curtis Givens was personally asked by his friend Penny Hardaway to help produce this year’s Memphis Madness event alongside promoter “Peppa” Williams.
“We wanted to make sure, hey, everyone know the community know Memphis basketball is back,” Givens said.
“Penny Hardaway is bringing all these new players to Memphis, showing Memphis is a basketball city,” U of M student Mohammed Basma said.
Memphis Madness kicks off at 5 p.m. with something new--the blue carpet experience, featuring former players.
Doors open at 6 and the show starts at 7, featuring the Introduction of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, a dunk contest, a three-point contest, and special guests.
What we don’t know is who those special guests will be and that’s by design.
“True tiger fans was always disappointed when they announce an artist. People come for the artist only. When the artist through performing, they leave, well that’s an insult to true tiger fans,” Givens said.
Givens is staying tight-lipped about the performers,, but he did promise one thing.
“From 7 o’clock, if you blink your eyes, you might miss something,” Givens said.
You have to be at FedExForum to experience the show. The university will not live stream the event, and the media is not allowed to live stream the event either.
Organizers said they are encouraging fans to be at the event by 5 p.m. to enjoy the full experience and so you can be in your seat promptly at 7 p.m.