Saturday, April 30, 2011

Believe Memphis

When I went to work on Friday, I told friends that April 29th would be either the best or the worst night of my life. The first Game 6 in the history of the Grizzlies had all the makings of another Grizzlies letdown. Within 2 seconds of defeating the top-seeded Spurs in Game 5, the Grizzlies blew a defensive possession and the Spurs made improbable shots to force a 6th game.

Losing the series after leading the Spurs 3-1 and leading Game 5 by 3 with 2 seconds remaining would fit perfectly into the Grizzlies' 10 year narrative of unprecedented losing and unmatched embarrassment.

But the Grizzlies won.

These Grizzlies are unlike any Grizzly before them.

For the first time in franchise history, the Grizzlies exceeded expectations. For the first time in Grizzlies playoff history, the team embarrassed someone else. For the first time in Memphis history, fans have more to be proud of than a well-played game here and there and some delicious BBQ nachos.

For once, the Grizzlies seized an opportunity and changed their narrative.

These Grizzlies' narrative is about winning now and winning later. It's trading Thabeet and locking up Zbo. It's selling out the FedEx Forum. It's the volume of emails, texts, and phone calls that prevent me from watching games on DVR delay. It's the Facebook message from someone I haven't spoken with in 6 years congratulating me as if I had done something other than endure 10 years of loyalty to a despicably bad sports team.

The Grizzlies are finally good.

Friday, April 15, 2011

All Heart, Grit, Grind

It's been 5 years since the Grizzlies were last swept out of the playoffs. At the time, the Grizzlies set a record for mediocrity, being swept for the third consecutive season (out of 3 total playoff appearances).

On Sunday, Memphis returns to the playoffs as an eighth seed, battling the four time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, who completed the 2010-2011 season with the second best record in basketball.

Yet somehow, I am encouraged. While there's little hope that the Grizzlies' season will extend beyond the next two weeks, there is something different about these Grizzlies that inspires.

Something that made this season unashamedly entertaining despite modest results.

It's All Heart, Grit, Grind.

So here I am in my Tony Allen Tshirt, in Napa Valley California, purchasing a celebratory beverage to drink when the Grizzlies win their first playoff game in franchise history.

Go Grizz.