Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies is no stranger when it comes to lending a helping hand in the community, no matter what city he may be in. The Marion, Indiana native has grown up with the same mindset that he has now, helping others who are in need of it no matter what your situation may be.
“I’ve always been this type of person since I was a youngster. I came from a single mother and I was the oldest of four. I had another brother and two sisters and my mother was on welfare so I didn’t always have everything, but when someone else needed help or asked me for something I would always give them something, I’ve always been that type of person,” explained the 2004 NBA Most Improved Player.
“If you go back to where I’m from, my friends will tell you that I’ve always been like this and it makes me work hard and have a good work ethic and makes me push harder to succeed,” he added.
As hard as he works to help out others in the community, Zach understands that the people that were around him made him who he is today and helped him become the humanitarian that he is.
“I feel like guys blessed me and gave me an opportunity. I’ve been through adversity and things in my life before and I feel very blessed, so I believe that giving back and doing stuff in the community is my duty,” stated Randolph. “I don’t do it for any recognition or for a camera crew, it’s just what I feel has to be done.”
The Portland Trail Blazers first-round pick in the 2001 NBA Draft has spent time in Portland, New York, Los Angeles and currently Memphis, where he suits up on a nightly basis for the Grizzlies. Every city that he has made a stop in throughout his career, including his hometown of Marion, Indiana, Randolph has been very generous with all the local communities that he has been thankful to call home and has used his name to his advantage to help better someone else’s life.
“I remember my first year in Memphis, it was real hot out so I paid a bunch of people’s electric bills,” said Randolph. “I remember it was real bad and people didn’t have air conditioning so I wanted to make a difference so I paid their bills for a month so they wouldn’t have to worry about it for the time being,” he elucidated.
This past summer, Zach played a huge role in saving a young pit bull’s life. The young dog was heard crying from a far by a mother and her daughter who were going for a walk. The dog was found trapped 15-feet down a drain pipe near the Shelby Farms Green Line trail at Waring Road, weak and suffering from heartworms and several skin infections. Randolph donated $10,000 to the Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans to cover the dog’s physical and emotional rehab – which was named “Little Z-Bo” in honour of Zach who goes by “Z-Bo”.
“It was great helping out the dog and great to get the opportunity to work with Pit Bulls & Parolees and Tia. I have a love for these animals and all animals of all breeds for that matter, so it was great to see him get the help that was needed,” stated Z-Bo.
Pit Bulls & Parolees is a show on Animal Planet hosted by Tia Torres, her family, and a crew of ex-convicts, as they come together to rescue and rehabilitate abused and abandoned pit bulls. Randolph understands how important it is to raise awareness for animal abuse, as it happens everyday but goes unnoticed a lot of the time.
“It’s real important to help spread awareness for these types of things. People need to understand and see that animal abuse is going on all over the place and people like me try to put forth their efforts to do whatever we can to help and fight this problem and we need to continue to fight it.”
As someone who believes in helping out the animals and giving second chances, Randolph understands that people make mistakes and deserve a second chance, as long as they can move forward in a positive way and realize the wrong that they’ve done. As a friend of Michael Vick, who pleaded guilty to federal charges in the Bad Newz Kennels dog fighting investigation, Randolph understands the love that Michael has for animals and the breed and knows that he’s making the best of his second chance.
“Michael has a love for these animals, too, and I don’t see a problem for a guy like that to get a second chance, especially when he’s doing the right thing and takes advantage of having that second chance,” explained the 6-foot-9 power forward out of Michigan State. “He gives back to the breed and does what he can for animal rights and stopping animal abuse.”
As much as he loves helping animals and raising awareness for animal abuse, Randolph likes playing a big part in the community when it comes to helping single-parent homes and kids who are abused.
“I like to help the kids out and better a situation and a person, I’m all for it.”
Randolph really enjoys helping out within the community through the Memphis Grizzlies, as well as NBA Cares; a program he believes does a lot of good for every community that it hits, no matter where it may be.
“I love working with NBA Cares and the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies definitely tell us to get out in the community as much as we can and since I’ve always been like that I really love that they stress it upon the players and that they want us to do what we can for the community and the fans,” he concluded.
Whether he is helping to fight back against animal abuse or is helping a family in need pay their bills for a month to help them survive, you can always count on Zach Randolph to do what is needed in the community that he calls home and accepts him for who he is and appreciates everything that he puts forth, on the court and off of it.
To learn more about the Villalobos Rescue Center, visit http://www.vrcpitbull.net/dog/
To find out more information on Pit Bulls & Parolees, visit http://animal.discovery.com/tv/pitbulls-and-parolees/