Life is a pretty cool thing of which to be a part. It's not easy, and as any sitcom or teenager will tell you, it's never fair, but for the most part, I really enjoy it. Gentle breezes, summer rain, deep belly laughs, dear friends and beautiful ladies; so many great things. Are there a few drawbacks and un-pleasantries? Of course. There always have been and always will be. Haircuts, traffic jams, when there's a really popular stand-up comedian that's making a lot of money off his live DVDs and motion pictures and you seem to be the only one in the world that doesn't find him funny and you feel like you're living on some sort of Truman Show; you know, just different things. Then there are things in life that very eloquently imitate the ability of human beings to simultaneously be just the best and the worst. I speak, of course, about social media.
I'm not here to jump up on my old man soap box and bash social media, because when it's used properly, I love it. I'm eternally grateful that at any given moment I can FaceTime with my best buddy in New York. While I'm limited by my face from taking many pictures, I do enjoy how easy it is to capture a moment and reminisce immediately. And for those of you who know me, you know that I love the Twitter. I never understood the phrase "more fun than a barrel of monkeys" before I started using twitter, but now I know, and I'll never forget. As fun as Twitter is to use, however, it's one of the main culprits in our newfound knee-jerk society. What twitter wants us to believe is that we should have no filter, and that each and every one of our thoughts are so unique and precious that we should be constantly spitting them out for the entire world to see. Enter Ron Tillery.
Ron Tillery, whom you may remember from his negative comments regarding Lionel Hollins being let go, or his negative comments about Ed Davis, or as an all-in-all great beat writer who has a knack for getting to know players, was at it again Sunday night. After the Memphis Tigers were very unceremoniously bounced from the NCAA tournament, Ron Tillery took to the twitterverse to address his feelings on all of the "Fire Josh Pastner!" comments. His response reads like this..
Sorry, not answering questions re: CJP. I cover the team that will be (perversely) celebrated if they get an 8 seed.— Ronald Tillery (@CAGrizBeat) March 24, 2014
In internet speech, that, kids, is what is known as "shots fired."
And here's the crazy thing, these aren't shots at the front office, or a specific player, or a new head coach like we've seen in the past. No, these shots appear to be taken at any and everyone related to the Grizzlies, including the fans.
Now, let's get something straight. Had Ron Tillery made these comments in October, there wouldn't exist much of an issue. After all, coming off a trip to the Western Conference finals, there was great reason for optimism in Memphis. But then, things started happening. The Grizzlies were hit with a truly insane rash of injuries. Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, and Mike Conley have missed a combined 58 games, with the most devastating of those games being the 23 missed by Marc Gasol. Quincy Pondexter was lost for the season. The Grizzlies have been plagued by comically poor play from their starting small forward and a rookie point guard struggling to get himself acclimated to the speed and tenacity of the NBA. Even still, despite all of the setbacks and obstacles that presented themselves during this season, the Grizzlies find themselves in position to make another run at the postseason. What's more impressive, if you look at the Grizzlies record when everyone is relatively healthy, they are 31-14, specifically 24-9 since the return of Marc Gasol. But Ron Tillery refuses to understand that. Look, if Ray Allen makes a 3-point shot while playing alone in a gym, no one is moving Heaven or Earth to write that story. But if Ray Allen makes a 3-point shot while falling away with the clock running out to save the Miami Heat from being eliminated from the playoffs, that's a shot that alters history.
The Grizzlies won't be celebrated, perversely or not, for sneaking into the playoffs as the 8 seed this year, they'll be celebrated for overcoming an unending mountain of injuries and obstacles to defy the odds and still make the postseason. They'll be celebrated because they're a team that consists of players that work hard, give genuinely to the city of Memphis and are easy people to like. That's hard to comprehend when you choose to look at the world through pissed off goggles.
The comments he made last night set off a larger outrage than his previous tweets, because these comments are made at the expense of the fans and the city of Memphis. If you can learn one thing from TJ Simmers, learn the lesson to not insult the city of Memphis, and especially don't insult them when you are paid to write here and cover a team here.
For the most part, Memphis has a highly intelligent fan base. I'm not saying there won't be the occasional nut job that strolls along telling you that Austin Daye is the second coming of Larry Bird, but for the most part, this city and fan base knows what it is talking about. If we deem it necessary to celebrate a playoff berth in any shape, form, or fashion, we will do so, and no broken-hearted beat writer will tell us differently.
I don't know Tillery personally. I can't speak to his knowledge of jazz albums or whether or not he'd make a good fourth for bridge. All I know is for the past few months, I constantly see/hear his name brought up with the phrases "throwing a fit" and "butt hurt." I can't imagine those are the things anyone desires for their name to be associated with.
Tillery has been vocal on his discontent since his bestbian Lionel Hollins wasn't brought back to coach the team he is paid to cover, and as a result, that's led to him unloading some rounds on Twitter.
I'm not saying Ron Tillery can't feel the way he does, because, much like his attempts to tell us all how to feel about the 8 seed, I have no right to do so. If I no longer was able to work so closely with my good friend, I'd probably be upset too. But when you continuously tweet from a pissed off emotional stance, you come across less like a pal sticking up for his buddy and more like Champ Kind telling Ron Burgundy they should get an apartment together.
What I would suggest is that he just let this one go. No matter how much he complains, no matter how many shots he takes, or how many ill-conceived tweets he sends out, Lionel Hollins ain't walking through that door. Like it or not, and to my knowledge liking it isn't a part of the description of the job for which he is paid to do, this is the state and shape of the Grizzlies franchise and organization.
It could be beneficial to worry more about the team and less about the fans.
Those silly, perverted fans.