NBA / Oct 21, 2008 / 5:35 pm

My New Favorite Team


Maybe the right sign was there all along. Right there in my closet.

Last month, when I went looking for a new NBA team to root for until the Sonics return to Seattle, my initial front-runner was the Memphis Grizzlies. Like a college fan tracking potential recruits on the high school/AAU circuit, my focus was on the future, not necessarily the present. And of all the franchises being talked about as possible candidates to relocate within the next five years and assume the Sonics’ identity, the Grizzlies seemed the most likely. By following Memphis in ’08-09 and beyond, it was almost like following the 2013-14 Sonics.

With my decision close to being final, confirmation hit me as I sat down to write this column — when I realized I just happened to be wearing a Grizzlies t-shirt that I bought a couple summers ago at the Memphis airport. (Backstory: It was hot as hell outside, I’d already sweated through one shirt, and I still had an all-day-long playground tournament to cover.) In my gut, it just feels like the right move.

So that’s it: I’m a Memphis Grizzlies fan.

Rudy Gay‘s maturation into a legit NBA star; O.J. Mayo‘s chance to finally live up to the hype that’s been surrounding him since he was 12 years old; the Mike Conley-versus-Kyle Lowry-versus-Javaris Crittenton point guard competition; the Marc Gasol-versus-Darko-versus-Hamed Haddadi competition to see who will be the first to get “SPALDING” imprinted on his forehead; Hakim Warrick‘s quest to build his body into that of an actual NBA power forward; Marc Iavaroni trying to mask that anguished “HUH?” look he gets on his face after the Griz have turned the ball over for the fourth straight possession; Quinton Ross fulfilling the quota of my favorite team having at least one defense-first perimeter guy that I can pattern my game after; Antoine Walker pretending he doesn’t still want to play for the Celtics … these are the story lines I’ll be following.

Of course there is the very real possibility that the Grizzlies don’t relocate, and that the “new” Sonics will actually be the old Charlotte Bobcats or Sacramento Kings or Milwaukee Bucks (who are on a year-to-year lease to play in the Bradley Center). If that happens, will following the Grizzlies have been a waste or time? Maybe. But my gut tells me that, barring expansion, the Grizzlies will be the ones slated to occupy KeyArena — or whatever ridiculously expensive replacement is built — before the court-enforced 2013 deadline. (And You know Clay Bennett will vote for the move if it’ll save him from paying the city another $30 million.) If my gut is wrong, I’m OK with that. At worst, the Grizzlies will be a rent-a-team that I could let go of with no hard feelings. At best, they are Seattle’s franchise-in-training.

But for right now, they’re my team. Bring on NBA League Pass and order me a Haddadi jersey, ’cause unfortunately, that “#22 GAY” one isn’t gonna fly over here.

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  • Joe

    Come on AB…MAN UP, get the Gay jersey!

  • jayslay

    yea ab u can get the gay jersey…hell its that or mayo lol

  • http://www.myspace.com/lilpenny23 JHov

    I’m a diehard Lakerfan thru and thru but..the Grizz are fun to watch and O.J. and Gay are beasts on this yr’s NBA Live..I’m undefeated with their squad!

  • Tony

    lol everyone should go to a grizzlies game and give Haddadi the thumbs up. could b the next big brawl

  • Eduardo


    “Marc Gasol-versus-Darko-versus-Hamed Haddadi competition to see who will be the first to get “SPALDING” imprinted on his forehead”

    This shiit was beautiful man.

  • http://dimemag.com Andrew Katz

    If you get a Haddadi jersey I will never forgive you.

  • http://www.kikaayacollegeschool.net smity far away

    @ Austin

    what happens if Clay and them find out that Oklahoma is a nice place for an NBA team to visit (or split have a year there) but not a nice place (financially speaking) to live. Will Seattle accept the team back? That would be worse than the ref scandal (and stern would probably never let it happen anyway) (But) What if?

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    I think Seattle would take any team at this point, even if Bennett was attached; he’d just get booed at the grocery store and everywhere else he went.

  • http://www.geocities.com/dagomardeg Dagomar

    Let me guess: you were a Martian Manhunter fan while all the kids were reading Superman comics, right?

  • Zibala

    Unrelated but in England we only have one game broadcast a week anybody know where you can watch the games online?

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @Dagomar — Yeah, I was that one kid who wanted the Knicks to beat the Bulls. (FYI, never been really into comics, but my two favorites are ones I’d bet money you’ve never heard of.)

  • nick

    only too bad the grizz still don’t have miller, dude could shoot the rock. mayo and gay will be fun to watch though.

  • smokez4Dayz

    I said the same things about the grizzlies after the draft of Mayo. definetely my new favorite team in NBA2k9.

  • R.ELI

    Rudy!!! Duece Duece!!

  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips
  • Jah

    Seattle Supersonics — my favorite team since I started watching Kemp & Payton get down back in 7th grade…

    …I need a new team to root for as well.

    I’m going to go with Miami.

  • Justin Solomon

    I think Seattle should be given an expansion team in 2013-14 and they can be the Sonics, similar to when the Browns became the Ravens and Cleveland was given an expansion team years later. I know this makes the conferences uneven, but I know that NJ would support an expansion team in Newark at the Prudential Center. I have seen the Legends Classic as well as Seton Hall play there and it is an NBA ready arena. With the Nets headed to Brooklyn, this is something that Stern should consider. Seattle and Newark both deserve teams. Plus the Fed Ex Forum was built for the Grizzlies, not the Tigers. I do not see Memphis relocating, especially after Mayo wins ROY.

  • http://www.myspace.com/carli_borikua4life QuEsT???

    lmfao i dont know what is worse wearing a gay jersey or wearing a haddidi jersey

  • http://www.myspace.com/carli_borikua4life QuEsT???

    sry a haddadi

  • yoda

    i use TVUplayer to watch nba games, you can always find somewhere someone posting them up. only downside is youtube quality, most of time.

  • Big Sia

    Haddadi for ROY, MVP, DPY, and fucking Dunk Contest Champ.

    Aknowledge the rep haters

  • Magnifico

    What’s O.J. jersey number? That Mayo jersey has a cool ring to it.

  • heartbreaker95

    already said this before but fuck it, come game time imma bring a ‘WHO’S YOUR HADDADI?!’ signboard.

  • Celts Fan

    @AB, congrats man, it’s always fun to watch an up-and-coming team come together.

    I say again, that was a tragedy. Fuck Clay, fuck Stern for allowing it, and fuck the OKC Thunder. I’m glad their unis, team name, and city suck. You can hang your hat on one thing though, Clay and them almost definitely lost hundreds of millions of $$$ over the past few weeks…

  • weezy f

    come on ab do you like rooting for sorry teams?

  • bakedbeing

    Haddadi for DNP:CD

    Big Sia says:
    Haddadi for ROY, MVP, DPY, and fucking Dunk Contest Champ.

    Aknowledge the rep haters

  • bgassassin

    If the likeliness of the Grizzlies moving is part of your reason for following this team, then you need to start looking for another team. It seems that a lot of people do not know about the clauses in place that make a move very unlikely. Read here to get more info.


  • Sean Shaun

    Season opener was shakey at best against Houston and scoring was 2-4 points apart until last 100 secs of the game. One lead change that was n da 4th quart. Darrell Arthur, the suprise of the league season opener, had what some say best rebound display for rookie in inagural NBA career game totaling 15. Oh yeah is was a double double w/11/pts and he blocked Yau Mings shot. Just like Marc Gasol, and it was his inagural NBA career game too. Double Double 4him 2. Your team looks hopefully for such a young team