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Randolph returns home for special honor

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Marion’s own NBA All-Star, Zach Randolph, was honored with a special ceremony on Friday where it all started: Bill Green Arena at Marion High School.

A crowd gathered inside the famed home of the Marion Giants to celebrate Randolph. Several awards were presented, and several speakers spoke to the impact Randolph has made on the world stage and here in his hometown.

Randolph, a 2000 graduate of Marion High School, is a two-time NBA All-Star and committed philanthropist, regularly reaching out to help kids and families here in Marion and in his adopted home of Memphis, where he played for the NBA’s Grizzlies from 2009 to 2017. He is now headed to the Sacramento Kings to make an impact on a new group of young players.

Randolph and his family took the place of honor Friday on the home court of the Marion Giants, whom he led to their seventh state championship in 2000, during the ceremony, as several awards were presented.

Marion Mayor Jess Alumbaugh, also an MHS alumnus, presented Randolph with a Key to the City award, acknowledging the honor he has brought the city over the years and the pride the community has for his accomplishments and his generous spirit. Indiana State Sen. Greg Taylor, another fellow MHS Giant, presented Randolph with a Certificate of Excellence from the State of Indiana, acknowledging his tremendous record of philanthropy and service to the communities he has called home.

Randolph was also was the second honoree in a series of special honors, the Marion Minority Champion Awards; the first recipient was local civil rights pioneer Pearl Bassett, now 106 years old. The Marion Minority Champion Awards will be featured in a garden at the Clarence Faulkner Center, and they are intended not only to honor the recipients, but also to inspire the youths of Marion to dream big, and to know that they too can make an impact on our community, and beyond.

Watch the video here:

Randolph expressed thanks for the honors, and he said he was proud of his Marion roots, and proud to continue to tell people about his hometown, pledging to make sure that people in Sacramento, Calif. (his next stop in an NBA career that already spans 17 years) hear what’s great about Marion, Ind.

Other speakers included Marion High School Alumni Association President Lori Eltzroth, Randolph’s high school basketball coach, Moe Smedley, Marion Community Schools Superintendent Brad Lindsay, WBAT’s Jim Brunner, who has been the voice of the Marion Giants for decades, and the organizers of the event and the Marion Minority Champion Awards, Larry Richardson, Robin Fouce, along with the Rev. Larry Batchelor.

The Marion High School JROTC presented the colors, and The Crew, a dance group from Marion Community School of the Arts, added to the celebratory atmosphere with a special performance. In addition, a special video was played, looking back on Randolph’s growth from a youngster in Marion with big dreams, to an outstanding professional athlete and a community leader with the heart of a Giant, who has made a difference in the lives of so many.

After the ceremony, the crowd proceeded out to the street that borders the Marion High School campus on the west, led by the Marion High School Marching Giants playing the MHS school fight song. There, the new sign featuring a nearly life-size image of Randolph and the new honorary name of the street — Zach Randolph Lane — was unveiled. Similar signs have also been placed at both ends of the section of the street that carries the honorary name (from 26th Street to the south, to Valley Avenue to the north). In addition, basketball shaped signs are displayed beneath the street signs at both intersections, noting the new name of the street.

This event was a collaboration of Marion Minority Champions, the City of Marion, and Marion Community Schools. Organizers are grateful to all who helped make this event a success, which also included the Marion Fire Department, the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, and many others.

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Zach Randolph and Marion High School Principal Keith Burke on Friday unveil the sign declaring a new honorary name for the street that borders the Marion High School campus on the west. From 26th Street to Valley Avenue, the street will know be known as Zach Randolph Lane.

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