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Joey Thorsen with Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway and a fan during a Grizzlies game. Joe Murphy (NBAE/Getty Images) Used with Permission

Joey Thorsen with Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and a fan during a Grizzlies game. Joe Murphy (NBAE/Getty Images) Used with Permission

Joey Thorsen
Coordinator, Event Presentation
Graduate of the University of Memphis and a lifelong Memphian
Husband and new father of daughter Journey


  • First job in sports was with Memphis Riverkings as a spotlight operator
  • That job turned into Director of Game ops
  • Joey was then hired by the Redbirds to throw out T-shirts
  • After a few years, he left a FT job with benefits to work for the Grizzlies as an intern
  • However, due to the lockout, he was let go by the Grizzlies
  • During the lockout Joey went to Los Angeles and worked as a Production Assistant on America’s Next Top Model & other shows (he is an aspiring director)
  • Lockout ends, he is hired back by the Memphis Grizzlies and been rolling along ever since

Best Moment with the Grizzlies:
Seeing 18 thousand people, players, men, women alike captivated by 11 year old St. Jude patient singing the National Anthem in 2012 playoffs (there were tears shed)

What is unique about the job?
The Game Ops crew has seen everything. Therefore we are constantly making up stuff that will entertain us, and make fans laugh. The in game entertainment usually turns into a parody of normal entertainment you may see elsewhere.

Why are the Ribs such a huge deal now?
The original idea was to have the Ribs come out and run around the court, a la Presidents at baseball games. Well, that bombed, so we had these rib costumes and needed something to do with them, which turned into having the ribs play basketball. Somehow they morphed into the bad guys. They were never supposed to be the bad guys, yet, now they are. A throw away timeout, turned into the best in game entertainment. Now the Ribs train, they practice and only come out for the big games.

Where does Joey Thorsen go from here?
My dream is to be a film director, so if that opportunity ever presents itself, I may have to jump at it. However, for now, I am more than content with job “the best in the world.” I wake up everyday, come to the office with the task of figuring out how many different ways to throw a cake in someone’s face.

People who are interested in joining Joey and the Claw Crew can apply by emailing him. He holds auditions in August and September for high energy people who love coming to Grizzlies games. To email click here.

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