Parker Fleming is the new site manager for Grizzly Bear Blues
Let’s start this column with this exciting news: I am fortunate to announce that I am the new Site Manager for Grizzly Bear Blues.
From moments of reflection on this news, it is very surreal to enter this chapter of my life and this blogging “career”. I grew up reading Geoff Calkins and Ron Tillery’s articles in The commercial appeal every morning before school. Then, after school, I would write on my home computer mock sheet music and game previews similar to those in the journal. When I was 10 or 11, I lived on Grizzlies message boards, giving my opinion on different trades or draft picks — then it went on Facebook and Twitter during my teenage years.
After the first semester of my freshman year, my life plan going into college just wasn’t going to materialize. I was directionless at the time, then got an email about a national blog network looking for Grizzlies writers. I fired my shot and launched my writing career there. From there, I grew into my art of putting my thoughts on basketball into written form. A few months later I got into the media after that cool experience of talking to Mike Conley at his MVP press conference for season ticket holders after re-signing with the Grizzlies in 2016 – more here.
Time passed and I started writing for Grizzly Bear Blues. I owe so much to former GBB site manager Joe Mullinax for what happened during my time at GBB. I entered the blogging network as an enthusiastic writer looking to write about anything relevant with the Grizzlies, and he coached me and taught me the art of hitting quality and quantity. When that happened, it also gave me the confidence to write in my own voice and style. That confidence only grew when he named me Gameday Lead to cover for the Grizzlies on Forum floor. It’s something I dreamed of – interviewing the players and coaches of a team I’ve followed all my life and chatting with the media personalities I read or listened to as a child.
And now joining Joe, Chris Faulkner, Kevin Lipe and Tom Lorenzo in this class of Grizzly Bear Blues Site Managers – as well as this talented group of Site Managers across the SB Nation network – it’s an incredible honor.
I’m grateful for the relationships I’ve built through GBB – whether that staff, other members of the local media, those in the organization behind the scenes, or those I’ve met on social media – and the role they have played in my progress in this area. I would not be in this position without the spiritual guidance of God, who is blessing me with this incredible experience and opportunity. I wouldn’t be in this position without the support of my fiancée, Allie, and my family — reading or listening to my stuff, cheering me on, or texting their takeaways of my articles (showing my great -mothers there).
I really want to give my fiancée Allie her flowers here, because she’s my rock. It’s so easy to do all of this when you and the person you love are there for each other, and you support and love each other’s passions. She wants to watch and go to games, talk to me about the players and support me and the team. This team means a lot to her and they have done a lot for her in her fight against cancer. I am very grateful to have this woman in my corner in everything I do.
I hope this announcement comes in a month. This Memphis Grizzlies team was so much fun – fun to watch, to write and talk about, to interview at media sessions. There were also so many cool stories to follow… Ja Morant’s rise to stardom, Jaren Jackson Jr.’s defensive dominance, Desmond Bane’s mega jump, Brandon Clarke’s rebound, Steven Adams’ rebirth, Tyus Jones emerging as the best backup point guard in the NBA, Ziaire Williams getting better faster than expected and Taylor Jenkins’ nomination for Coach of the Year. On top of that, the sheer joy and swagger they played with made any random regular season night an absolute blast. I wish it all culminated in an NBA championship this season, but the best is yet to come and they will grow from his experience.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what this iteration of Grizzly Bear Blues is going to look like, and I can’t pinpoint anything, but I see it morphing over time – and I’m always receptive to feedback. I will aim to grow individually as someone who provides great Memphis Grizzlies content, while supporting and empowering the deep staff here at GBB.
So yeah, it’s going to be absolutely brilliant to cover this great young team and see how they build from here.
This is next-gen GBB. Let’s have a little fun.