MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Mike Conley called Memphis home for 12 years. Even though he moved on to play for the Utah Jazz, he’s giving back to the people in the city that helped shape who he is today.
The former Memphis Grizz was first introduced to charity when he was around 5 years old. His first event, was a memorable one.
“I met Michael Jordan. So my first thought was I get to meet famous people like this,” Conley said.
That quickly turned into a passion of giving back to the communities, kids and futures of those who need it most.
“It’s vital that we who have a platform like we do and a stage like we do to utilize it the best we can because who knows how long my voice will mean something,” he added.
Most recently, Conley donated $200,000 to split among six charities in five cities that mean something to the NBA star. In the Mid-South, the New Haven Missionary Baptist Church in West Helena, Arkansas. Along with CodeCrew in Memphis, which provides technology for kids to learn.
“Not everyone has resources, has WiFi, not everyone has the capabilities to do a lot of these things and I know that’s a real issue and I want them to still be able to achieve their goals and continue their education in whatever they’re trying to do,” Conley said.
Conley has always put an emphasis on helping kids develop. He was involved in a mentoring program in Memphis where he was paired with an 8 year old boy around his rookie season. That’s when he first saw how big of a difference he could make.
“Fast forward to 8-9 years later, there’s this grown man that walks up to me and he’s in a suit and looking wonderful and tells me, ‘Hey, I’m the kid that you used to mentor and without your words I would’ve never made it to college.’” Conley recalled. “If anyone ever gets the opportunity, you understand the power of just a conversation or just being there for somebody and listening.”