Hardaway remembers the thunderous din of this audience inside the very very first game during the arena.

Hardaway remembers the thunderous din of this audience inside the very very first game during the arena.

Memphis fans, 21,142 strong, filled into the rafters since the hometown Tigers took in the DePaul that is 20th-ranked Blue from Chicago. “It was amazing,” he remembers. “Because we arrived on the scene against a team that is top-ranked the united states in DePaul. ESPN arrange it. Dick Vitale had been here. your whole nine yards. The audience had been exceedingly loud that therefore the arena ended up being advanced. evening”

1992: Guard Anfernee Hardaway of this Memphis State Tigers dribbles the ball along the court within a . [+] game from the DePaul Blue Demons at the Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee. Credit: Allsport /Allsport

Through the duration of the 1990s the Pyramid continued to host University of Memphis baseball games, usually standing among the list of top programs nationally in attendance while filling its cavernous hold with fans clad when you look at the school’s colors, blue and grey. But by the very very very early 2000s, a brand new period ended up being dawning in Memphis. The town had swung and missed for an NFL expansion group when you look at the 90s, but finally guaranteed a league that is major in 2001, whenever NBA’s Grizzlies were lured to Tennessee from Vancouver.

The Grizzlies had been an instantaneous hit into the basketball-crazed city. Nevertheless the summer time following the very very first major league period in Memphis history, the Pyramid arrived face-to-face along with its biggest evening, every night larger than basketball.

MEMPHIS, TN – NOVEMBER 15: Memphis Grizzlies’ fan Evan O’Connor, 6, gets a lift from sibling Ryan .

[+] O’Connor, 12, whilst the Grizzlies come close to beating the Timberwolves through the half that is second November 2001 in the Pyramid in Memphis, Tennesee. The Timberwolves pulled ahead when you look at the final mins to beat the Grizzlies 99-95. LANCE MURPHEY/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson

“Penny Hardaway had been the absolute most famous occupant that is permanent of building,” informs Geoff Calkins, a Memphis-based activities columnist since 1996. “But I think you may make a disagreement that [the battle] had been the largest sporting event ever within the reputation for Memphis.”

The battle were held on June 8, 2002 when Mike Tyson challenged Lenox Lewis for the WBC World Title beneath the rafters that are very Hardaway played university basketball ten years earlier in the day.

The heavyweight contest was indeed initially planned to happen in Las vegas, nevada, but following a press meeting brawl between your two opponents, the State of Nevada declined to give Tyson a boxing permit. Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton—an amateur boxer who’d continue to fight Joe Frazier in a strange beale street boxing match years later—swung for the Tyson/Lewis struggle with a $12 million bid and won it.

Herenton’s civic slug hit house.


Within the times leading up to the battle, worldwide news descended from the town in droves. Personal jets lined the tarmac of Memphis airport terminal.

A concrete buzz filled the air together with Pyramid became the epicenter for the activities world.

Due to the fact bell rang, the Tyson/Lewis battle set an archive when it comes to greatest grossing event in pay-per-view history, netting $106 million from watchers and a $17.5 million bag for the combatants. The undercard showcased a young filipino fighter known as Manny Pacquiao. As well as the scene, based on Calkins, ended up being bedlam.

“It ended up being Hollywood satisfies the Las Las Vegas Strip fulfills Beale Street all right there tucked into this ass that is crazy pyramid on the river. It couldn’t have now been more electric,” he defines.

MEMPHIS, TN – 8: Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson fight for the WBC, IBO, IBF, Ring and Lineal june . [+] heavyweight titles on June 8, 2002 during the Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee. Lewis won the battle having a 8th round ko. (picture by concentrate on Sport/Getty pictures)