Taylor Jenkins Rumors
Joe Mullinax: Taylor Jenkins on the importance of maintaining culture going into next season: “It’s the #1 thing we always talk about.” Said he and Kleiman have talked about it, and bringing in the right people to build this culture
Jenkins’ attention kept drifting to the other end of the tables, to Michael Edwards, the team’s bearded instant-replay operator. Longtime team employees called Edwards by his nickname, “Speedy,” and Jenkins could see and hear that Speedy was having a great time. As the assistant coaches told their NBA stories, Jenkins recognized that no one listened more intently or laughed more heartily than Speedy did.
“I could just see it on his face,” Jenkins recalled. “That meal sticks with me because so many people on the broadcast team were appreciative of the connectivity with the coaching staff. With Speedy, I could see the energy from him. He was quiet at times, too. He wasn’t always talking, but I do remember his laugh vividly just from that one meal.”
Perhaps no one epitomized that level of commitment more than Speedy. He adored his job so much that, throughout his 13-year tenure with the Grizzlies, he would commute from the suburban Birmingham, Ala., home he shared with his wife and stepchildren to Memphis. That drive typically took about three hours, 30 minutes each way. The 2020-21 season has been a triumphant one on the court for the Grizzlies, with their young squad earning a spot in the playoffs, but it also has been a painful season off the court for many people behind the scenes. Four and a half months ago, Speedy died after he contracted COVID-19.
You will see him wearing two pins — a pin for the Memphis-based St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the roadrunner pin in Speedy’s memory. Jenkins’ decision to continue to wear the roadrunner pin may not seem like much, but it has had a profound impact on the people who continue to grieve. “It was a wonderful gesture (for Taylor to do) when we lost Speedy, and he wanted to be a part of that,” Zachry said. “But for all of these months and all of these games since then, for him to continue to want to show that support?
“We know that it’s about Speedy and his family and the loss physically of him. But it also shows Taylor’s support for the rest of us. In this case, that roadrunner pin represents the relationship built between, and the support of, Taylor and our broadcast group. It means a lot to us.”