Photo: David Berding / Stringer via Getty Images
  /  01.29.2023

The Memphis Grizzlies feel the weight of grief as their city copes with the unfathomable death of Tyre Nichols.

“We are distraught to find ourselves dealing with a needless loss of life due to police brutality, and this time it was one of Memphis’ own,” said the team in a statement. Along with sending their condolences and deepest sympathies to Nichols’ family, the Grizzlies implored Memphians to support one another as they journeyed along the road of healing.

Head coach Taylor Jenkins spoke in detail about the impact the Bay Area native’s death has had on the team. “The senseless loss of life of Tyre Nichols really hit us hard, and it’s been tough being on the road [and] not being home,” Jenkins told sportscaster Pete Pranica ahead of Friday’s (Jan. 27) matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He said that hearing RowVaughn Wells, Nichols’ mother, speak about her son “with so much strength and positivity and so much love was powerful” and stirred up a lot of emotions. “I cried,” admitted Jenkins.

He grappled with finding the right words to fully express how “senseless” Nichols’ death was. As previously reported, the 29-year-old succumbed to critical injuries days after he was pummeled by five Memphis police officers. The men have since been terminated and face multiple charges, including felony second-degree murder. “I’m learning about the impact he made on so many people’s lives,” he said. “We’re here again, sadly. You know, with a loss of life to police brutality, [it’s] something you can’t fathom.”   

The NBA coach said that moving forward, he hopes the players will gain a greater understanding of their influence in their community. “Beyond basketball, this is [a] stark reminder of what position we’re in to unify our city. Our city has great soul, [and] our city has great love for each other. This is obviously a tough moment for our city to manage and deal with [and] to cope with and [to] recover from, but we will get through it… We’re going to do this with a heavy heart but also remembering a beautiful life that was lost, and hopefully, we can celebrate that life and remember that life of Tyre Nichols proudly, representing our city proudly.”

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