The Wedding Planner(USATSI)
Kosta Koufos is loving life. (USATSI)

The Memphis Grizzlies have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to big men. The team starts the quite talented Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph but is able to bring off the bench the equally tall combination of Jon Leuer and Kosta Koufos.

While Leuer provides energy and toughness, Kofous is a rarity in the NBA, a seven-foot bonafide rim protector that comes off the bench.  To bolster their defense on the second unit is a big reason why the Grizzlies traded for Koufos in 2013 and while his stats (5 points per game and 5 rebounds per game) won’t jump off your screen, the little things he does on the floor pay off in a big way.

While only averaging a little over 16 minutes per game, Koufos’ impact especially on the defensive end is evident. While he is only averaging less than a block a game, according to Seth Partnow’s rim protection stats at Nylon Calculus,  Koufos contests 50.6% shots at the rim. He is also a solid offensive player, especially at the rim where he shoots 59% right at the basket, per Basketball-Reference.  

Despite his limited minutes, Koufos has not complained as he is quite happy to be playing behind two of the best frontcourt players in the league.  “Learning from Z-Bo and Marc has been huge for me,” said Koufos after the team’s shootaround in Boston last week. “Both have helped with my growth and development as a post player.”

He has even bonded with the city often engaging in Grizzlies’ community events and communicating with fans via Twitter. Memphis has also become the home of his fiance and with their upcoming summer wedding only months away, Koufos sat down with to see if they would be having a wedding on par with “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

You don’t tweet that regularly but when you do, it is mainly to engage with the Grizzlies’ fan base by giving out tickets. You don’t just give out tickets, you make fans take part in a contest that you created; what started that?

Twitter is a lot of fun so I just try to offer up a different dynamic. I haven’t seen many players hold contests like I do, so I feel like I am doing something different. The organization likes what I am doing and they help me out as well with the contests. I like doing it every month and will continue doing it into the playoffs. You know, it is just an unique way to get an interaction with the fans.

So you have this strong connection with the fans but what about the city itself? Memphis is known for their foodie scene, have you taken any of it it yet?

Memphis is a great city man. There are a lot of great places to eat on Beale Street. I like going to Rendezvous and support them because their food is off the charts. I am a health nut and it is a little tough to find some healthy food in Memphis but I found some spots.

I am in an unique situation where I can look back in 10 years or so, and maybe tell my kids that we lived in Memphis. A place where the culture is very diverse and is just filled with history. From music to the history of Martin Luther King Jr., the city is just very unique and it is a great learning experience as well as a great living experience.

You mentioned being a health nut, did that start after a couple of years in the league or is it because of your fiancee? I know that she is big into fitness and health.

I actually have always been a health nut. Even when I was younger, I wouldn’t really eat fast food. Growing up I ate a lot of lean steak, chicken and salads. It is funny that Leia (Koufos’ fiance) is also into healthy living as well but that is why we are a perfect fit. It is just one of those things that worked out.

That is great man. You often talk about your fiancee on Twitter, just being very open and excited to be getting married.

Yeah it is truly a blessing. She has been there for me everyday since we got together; always supporting me and is one of the reasons I am where I am now. Not only is she a beautiful woman but she is very intelligent and does her own thing. She is quite unique.

Have any of your teammates offered any tips about getting married?

Some of the guys joke around with me but that is normal and is all in fun. You know it is just one of those things people give you crap about. But we want to have kids and some of the guys told me to wait a bit before having having them.

Guessing you are working with a wedding planner but what have you helped out with planning wise?

I have actually had a lot of fun planning things. Like I helped a lot with picking the color scheme among other things and thanks to Leia, it is not stressful at all. I have heard some horror stories but she has been very organized and is making sure to keep me involved with everything.

Is the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” an accurate portrayal of Greek weddings?

(Laughs) The movie is actually pretty much on point. We are both 100 percent Greek and even speak the language fluently. We are very proud to be Greek Americans but our wedding is going to be pretty modern. It will be at a Greek Church but it won’t be so Greek like the movie.

So safe to say that Greek food will be on the menu?

Of course. I really like dolmades which is basically grape leaves wrapped around rice. Whenever we go play in Utah my grandmother will give me a big thing of them. She hooks its up and so does my mom when go to Cleveland. No better food than a home cooked meal.

I looked at your wedding registry and can I offer you a tip? Take those Shark vacuums off it.

(Laughs) Oh , don’t get ‘em? We have all wooden floors and a pretty big cat that sheds a lot.

Yeah man,  I have wooden floors and a dog. Those Shark vacuums are garbage. Get a Dyson and you won’t be disappointed.

I appreciate that and will tell Leia to update our registry. (Laughs)