Photo Gallery | Hoop City Memphis hits one year of sharing pride
A project dedicated to sharing the authenticity of Memphis and its basketball team recently hit one year of being in the T-Shirt business – or rather, as some of their products imply, "Grizzness".
Hoop City Memphis launched in April 2012 with vintage and gritty designs that now hold a high reputation among many Memphis Tigers and Grizzlies fans.
The creators, Ian Lemmonds and Leslie Skelton, believe basketball has always supported Memphis – even in its darkest times.
"We started Hoop City Memphis to fight the 'low-self-esteem' we felt many Memphians have," said Skelton. "We didn't understand this idea that 'being from Memphis' was something someone could be embarrassed of, because we always thought Memphis is awesome."
The shirts not only show the pride in Memphis basketball, but also the city it represents. Phrases from "I Put On For My city!" to "This is Memphis. We Grind Here." stand proudly on a variety of shirts printed in different shades of blue, gold, and gray.
Throwback designs are incorporated in Lemmonds and Skelton's goal to be creative and quick in providing products that allow people to express their own sentiment about Memphis.
The two do not steal ideas from organizations' logos or colors, and are certainly not in the business for a quick buck. When looking at Hoop City's website, it is clear they are not in the business to make money – but to show their love for the city.
"That's why we used the idea of basketball in Hoop City Memphis. Basketball has always united us as Memphians. Basketball is the one thing that has always been there for us. We are, and always have been, a Hoop City," said Lemmonds. "There's this magical time when we get a glimpse of what Memphis is, and what we can be: when Memphis Basketball is in the playoffs."
Hoop City's creators want to show Memphis and beyond that the city is unique – and their T-Shirts serve as a reminder.
"Sure - it has some cracks in the sidewalks, and some potholes in the streets, but Memphis is real. Memphis is blue-collar and hardworking. And that's nothing to be ashamed of – it's something to be proud of. We wanted to make designs that reflect that 'blue-collar' 'hardworking' character of Memphis' residents," said Lemmonds.