All We Do Is Win: An Interview With The Bongo Lady

Posted by Holly Whitfield | April 15th 2014 1426 12

There is a lot of winning going on in Grizz Nation. First, major congrats to the Grizzlies, who beat the Suns last night to secure our spot for the 2014 Playoffs. 

Next, congratulations to Malenda Meacham, Memphis' Bongo Lady, who won NBA TV's Fan of the Year Award. If you haven't yet seen the BL in action, check out this hilarious video of Malenda winning and accepting her award.


L to R: Malenda Meacham aka The Bongo Lady, Tony Allen, and Hannah (Malenda's daughter). Photo courtesy of Malenda Meacham. 

I contacted the Bongo Lady, aka Malenda Meacham, to find out what it's like to the be the best fan in the NBA and also asked her some of the questions you sent me on Twitter. Here are her answers.

1. Who is the Bongo Lady in real life? Malenda Meacham, attorney. I have two children – Hayden, 17, and Hannah, 15.

2. How and when did this first start?  It was a new in game cam last season and I think the first time it happened was November, 2012. When it came on, I thought it was new and different and would be a fun thing to do. Much to my son’s horror, I started playing air bongos in my seat. He was leaning over muttering under his breath, “Dear God, please don’t let them see her. Please don’t let them see her.” Then the camera ended up on me. It took off from there!  

3. How often does the Bongo Cam happen? 4-5 times a season.

4. Your bongo-ing is intense. What do you do to prepare? If I know it is a bongo cam night, I make sure and drink a cup of coffee before the game! 

5. Were you always an in-game celebrity, or did it take a while for people to start knowing you as the "Bongo Lady”?  It took a couple of times of bongo cam before it happened. The nickname came from people on twitter talking about the crazy Bongo Lady. Ha ha! 

6. Let's go back, way back. Before the bongos. Were you always a Grizz fan or a recent convert?  Always a Grizz fan! So proud to have an NBA team here in Memphis! 


The Bongo Lady and son Hayden (he's under the bag). Photo courtesy of @kimweaver21.

7. Are your kids really embarrassed or do they secretly like having a "Fan of the Year" for a mom? Honestly, I think it is a little bit of both. You know that teenagers are always embarrassed by their parents; I just happen to take it to a whole other level! Part of what makes it so funny is how absolutely embarrassed my son gets.  My daughter inherited her mom’s crazy streak and she will play along with me on the maracas.

8. What did you do when you found out you won Fan of the Year? I was at work when I got the message on twitter and I was so excited! I ran to tell my co-workers. I really am honored! I love this city and this team!  The best thing that has happened is when I was presented with actual autographed bongos from Tony Allen and got to take my picture with him. He signed them “To the Bongo Lady. #MuchLove”! I will forever treasure those bongos and that moment!

9. Who's your favorite player?  That is a really tough question! I truly love them all- I can’t pick just one! 

10. Have you ever actually played the bongos?  No and I don’t imagine that I would be very good at them if I actually tried to play them.


The Bongo Lady and Quincy Pondexter. Photo courtesy of Malenda Meacham. 

11. @taylor_oaks on Twitter asked: "Does she do birthday parties?”  Ha Ha! No. I haven’t done a bongo birthday party yet, and after that extended bongo cam for the MEM vs. MIAMI game, I am not sure I have the stamina to do it for more than a couple of minutes! 

12. @ViewFromBoxSeat on Twitter asked: "Is all the adoration & attention starting to make you uneasy? What used to be natural, may now cause pressure?”  There was one time that I did bongo cam when I was not feeling too well and I had a few critics on the radio after the game saying they didn’t think Bongo Lady had given it her all that night, so now I make extra sure to be as energetic as I possibly can every single time! I am so grateful that Grizz Nation has embraced me the way that it has. I will say again that I think this city has the best fans in the entire NBA! 

13. @MeghanS on Twitter asked: "Can she sit in with a house band on Beale sometime?”  Now that would be a blast!

If you want to follow the Grizz Bongo Lady on Twitter, you can at @GrizzBongoLady


Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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