The Ultimate Guide to Being a Grizzlies Fan

USA TODAY Sports

With training camp in Nashville now less than a month away and the first preseason game being in St. Louis, the Grizzlies are attempting to attract new fans throughout the Mid-South region. For all those who are interested in becoming Grizzamaniacs, or who just need their passion rekindled during a (albeit shorter than usual) long off-season, here is a list of the dos and donts of Grizz fandom.

Editor's note: Welcome Joe Mullinax to the staff. You know him as MulliGrizz probably... and you're still free to argue with him in the comments as always! -- KL

Memphis. Ahhhh...Drink it in...it always goes down smooth. Home of the Blues, Elvis, Justin "The Man" Timberlake and Jerry "The King" Lawler. BBQ, southern charm, the Mississippi River, Beale Street, all wonderful aspects of Memphis. But make no mistake, Memphis' past time is Basketball. The Memphis Tigers Basketball team has run this town ever since Gene Bartow took the reigns in 1970 and the Memphis State University sadly was defeated at the filthy hippie hands of Bill Walton's UCLA Bruins for the National Title in 1973. SEC football and the Titans have their place, and the Cardinals have the AAA Redbirds right off Union Avenue, but thanks to the Tigers Memphis is a basketball town.

With basketball being a part of the culture of this city, it only made sense that Memphis would eventually try to take on an NBA team. And when the Vancouver Grizzlies decided to make the move to the Mid-South in 2001, Memphians finally had their first (and still only) "big four" sports franchise. But building a fan base is hard; there were good times and bad times, Hubie Brown times and Marc Iavaroni times. But with the arrivals of players like Zach Randolph and Tony Allen and the development of an identity built upon Grit and Grind, a magical playoff run on the tail-end of a major flood and unparalleled success in the seasons that followed, the fan base has grown by leaps and bounds.

Under the new direction of Robert Pera and Jason Levien, the franchise is beginning a regional push to develop the Grizzlies brand beyond the borders of the Bluff City. Nashville will be hosting training camp from October 1st through October 5th, with the first preseason game against the Chicago Bulls taking place in St. Louis on October 7th. The goal of the Front Office is clear; establish a broader fan base in an area of the country that does not have strong professional basketball allegiances. If they are successful, we will be having more folks frequenting this site trying to educate themselves on what exactly the Grizzlies are about and what it means to be a fan of the Beale Street Bears. Therefore, here are some dos and donts to being a Grizzlies fan.

DO- BE A GRIZZTORIAN Find as many awesome YouTube clips as you can to educate yourself on Grizzlies history. I did this when I first moved to Memphis and became a fan in 2011, and the highlights are awesome, especially of the 2010-2011 team with Super Z-Bo, Battier, Vasquez and company doing work.


There are classically hilarious videos out there too, here's two of my favorites from 2011 and 2003, respectively...



Awesome, right? You're welcome. There's plenty more where that came from, as well, but explore for yourself. Grizzlies history is quite entertaining, plus you feel more of a connection to the team when you learn about how things used to be B.F. (Before Fandom).

DONT- MENTION THE DRAFT OF 2009. Did you hear that? It was the collective sound of thousands of Grizzlies fans moaning as their spirit died a little every time they realize that Steph Curry or James Harden could be on this team right now. Instead, we got...sigh...never mind, I can't say it, Google it in another tab if you don't already know, then come back.

DO- GO TO A GRIZZLIES GAME AT FEDEX FORUM IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. Grizzlies games are far and away the most fun that I have experienced at a sporting event. Rick Trotter is one of the best PAs in the league; there is nothing better than hearing "SHOT CLOCK.....VIOLATED!" and other Trotterisms that make him perfect for Grizz games. The music is second to none...if you never cared for either of the next two songs, I promise you will after a Grizzlies game in which they are played.



Bongo Lady, Grizz slaps, BBQ Nachos, giant Ribs playing basketball, dancing Grannies and Grandpas, the Grizz Girls and Keith's beloved Little Redheaded Girl, Grizz games really have it all in an amazingly eclectic and random way. HIGHLY recommended, if at all possible.

DONT- BE AN "ONLY IF THE LAKERS ARE IN TOWN" FAN. You know who I am talking about; people who you won't see at a game cheering for the Grizzlies against, say...the Bobcats, but the Kobe Krew rolls into town and all of a sudden they're rocking the Blue and Yellow...or even worse, they're in the Purple and Gold! Season tickets are expensive (as a former holder, I know) even though they are cheaper than most teams in the league. It is understandable to not be able to attend all of the games. But, the team needs support all year round, not just when Lebron, Kobe, Carmelo or the Nets are in town. And if you are an out-of-town fan, try to keep updated using League Pass, or if you can't do that, fan websites where insightful analysis and fun editorials by handsome writers are readily available.

DO- HATE THE LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART. Just writing about them makes my blood boil. Blake Griffin and his stupidly awesome commercials, Chris Paul and his ridiculous ability to annoy as many people as possible, DeAndre Jordan's attempts at playing basketball, the list could go on and on. Not to mention that their lead writer at the time wrote this wonderful piece of literature, among other things...

Elvis is buried here forever and I cannot imagine how upset he must be.

Infuriating, right? It is nice to have a true rival, though, and there is no better rivalry right now in the NBA than the Clippers and Grizzlies. Respect them, but despise them.

DONT- BE AFRAID TO LOVE UGLY BASKETBALL. There will be games where the Grizzlies win 83-79 after a Tony Allen layup bounces off the backboard without touching the rim and the Grizzlies shoot 40% from the field. EMBRACE IT. This team wins thanks to it's intensity on defense and their ability to outwork the competition. This team is aggressive, passionate about their game and their community and will fight their tails off to defend their honor and the honor of their fans. It won't always be the traditional idea of beautiful, but the grind is beautiful to Grizzlies fans.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO LOVE UGLY BASKETBALL


If you're a fan of offensive symphonies and high flying dunks, you may want to try the Clippers or some other pansy team. If, however, you like basketball games that sometimes resemble an MMA fight and a team that literally fits the mold of their city, then the Grizzlies are for you. This is a team that will drag you into an alley, kick your butt and leave you lying. You love them for their flaws almost as much as their strengths, and that is why this city loves them so much. The Grizzlies have Memphis' heart, and hopefully they will have more jump aboard the Grizz Nation bandwagon soon enough.

The best part is, this guide is just the beginning. If you can think of anything else that may be a DO or DONT of Grizz fandom, add it in the comments below!

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