Athletistic / Basketball. In 1995, the National Basketball Association (NBA) welcomed its first Canadian teams into its ranks. They were the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies. While the “Dinosaurs” continue to represent Canada in the NBA to this day, the “Bears” moved from Vancouver to Memphis (Tennessee, United States) 22 years ago. Soon, the team may change its registration again.
After the NBA lockout, attendance at Vancouver Grizzlies games declined significantly, causing the team owner to lose money. In Canada, they immediately thought about selling the team, but the NBA rejected the offer to sell the club to Bill Laurie, owner of the St. Louis Blues NHL team, thus preventing the state of Missouri to join the NBA family. As a result, in 2000, Michael Hasley purchased the Grizzlies, promising to leave them in Vancouver. However, attendance at Grizzlies home games continued to decline as poor seasons, poor morale, and declining fan support pushed the franchise into debt. On March 26, 2001, the NBA received two requests from the Grizzlies and the Charlotte Hornets seeking permission to move to Memphis. The Bears’ request was granted.
MOVING TO MEMPHIS
In the 2001 NBA draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Pau Gasol third overall and immediately traded the Spaniard to Memphis for the rights to Shareef Abdur-Rahim. The Grizzlies themselves selected Shane Battier with the 6th pick in the draft, who quickly became a local fan favorite. The team lost its first home game against the Detroit Pistons with a score of 80:90. As a result, the team finished its first season in last place in the Western Conference with a win-loss record of 23-59. Despite the disastrous season, the team’s newcomer, Pau Gasol, has integrated well into North American basketball. He averaged 17.6 points per game and was ultimately named the 2001/2002 NBA Rookie of the Year.
The following season was also a failure, leaving the team out of the playoffs. But in the 2003-2004 season, the Grizzlies started with a 9-8 record and improved their performance every month. In January, the team won 10 games out of 14, and in March – 13 out of 15. As a result, that season Memphis, with a record of 50-32, took 6th place in the Western Conference and reached the playoffs for the first time. moment in its history. For such a successful game, 70-year-old coach Hubie Brown received the Coach of the Year award, and the team’s general manager, Jerry West, was named NBA Manager of the Year. In the first round of the playoffs, the team went to the San Antonio Spurs and lost the series with a score of 0-4.
And the team’s most successful season was the 2021/2022 campaign. Last year, Memphis won the Southwest Division for the first time in its history. In the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves (4-2) in the series, but then lost to the eventual champions, the Golden State Warriors (2-4) in the series. The team again finished last season in first place in the Southwest division, but lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs (2-4 in the series).
ON THE ROAD TO NASHVILLE
Recently, former NBA player Evan Turner proposed to the league management and the owners of the Grizzlies to move the franchise to another city – the capital of Tennessee, Nashville.
“I would move the team to Nashville.” Take the Grizzlies out of Memphis and put the team in NashvilleTurner said on The Old Man & the Three podcast.
Turner didn’t say those words out of nowhere. First, attendance at Grizzlies games in Memphis leaves a lot to be desired. Second, the city of Memphis itself is located right on the border with two neighboring states – Arkansas and Mississippi – and so people rarely associate the NBA team with their home state of Tennessee. Well, thirdly, the Nashville metropolitan area is constantly growing, and now this city has become the largest in the state in terms of the number of residents, ahead of Memphis in this indicator.
Nashville has its own NHL team, the Nashville Predators. The city has the Bridgestone Arena, which can host NBA games and can accommodate even more than the Fedex Arena in Memphis.
The NBA is, above all, a business. It would therefore not be surprising if in a few years the Grizzlies found a new home, but outside of Memphis.
Note that the last NBA club to change city was the Brooklyn Nets. In 2012, this team moved from New Jersey to New York.
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