Your Memphis Grizzlies: The Biggest Losers

nbHornets4.jpgThe stories about Memphis ranking poorly in some survey or another seem to appear with mind-numbing frequency these days. Why, here's one that just came out today: Memphis ranks low on a ranking of city fitness indicators. Forbes in particular seems to have it in for us: Remember the "second-most-miserable city"? and second-most-dangerous city? (Come on, guys, at least give us the satisfaction of dead last!)

Here they go again. Forbes.com writer Monte Burke ranks our very own Bad News Bears, the Memphis Grizzlies, as the most-losing franchise in sports. As Burkes points out, this "honor" comes on the heels of Griz owner Michael Heisley clocking in as the third-worst owner in the NBA. Besides what some people view as stingy absentee ownership, Burkes also mentions the Griz's roots in basketball-averse Canada, and the supremacy of the Memphis Tigers in this market, as reasons for the futility, which includes zero playoff wins in three appearances. Fine, all of it. But then he gets all ign'ant:

Me? I blame the name. Grizzly bears? In Memphis? A more fitting moniker: the Memphis Blues, which would describe the malady the team has afflicted on its fans.

banner_01.gifFirst off, we Memphians have plenty to give us the blues besides a bad NBA team (though a bad Tigers team would definitely worsen our blues). What we don't need is some fancy sports writer denying our sporting heritage! You see, Monty Monte, before the Memphis Hound Dogs, the Memphis Mad Dogs, even before the Memphis Showboats, we had the Memphis Southmen of the World Football League. The team boasted the "Miami Trio" of Jim Kiick, Larry Csonka and Paul Warfield, who had two Super Bowl rings and a perfect 17-0 season on their resumes.  None other than Elvis Presley was a fan of the team. The problem: "Southmen" was an impossibly lame name, so fans referred to -- and now remember -- the guys as the Memphis Grizzlies.

Thus, about 25 years later, when the hapless NBA Grizzlies -- who, by the way, originally were to be called the Mounties -- were moved to Memphis, Memphians of a certain age were able to embrace the name because of the link to the old WFL. At any rate, it was much better than the corporate-naming-rights alternative, thankfully squashed by the NBA: Memphis Express (maybe they could've worn purple and orange!).

So, Monty Monte, blame the owners, the terrible promotions, unmotivated players, bad coaching, an indifferent city -- just don't blame the name!

UPDATE: I got so carried away that I misspelled Monte a couple of times. And how could I forget the Memphis Maniax?

UPDATE: For the record, the Griz story actually appeared on Forbes.com all the way back on May 15. I saw it on Yahoo! Sports, which posted it Monday.

1 Comments

great article,but i get some trouble in understanding the last section, could you please make it clear a bit more?

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