Fanhood used to be an almost completely regional proposition. You grew up knowing only the franchise nearest to your home because of exposure. They were in the news, then on the radio, and finally on the television more often than any other team. There was no other option, you loved that which you knew.
Today, however, the world has unprecedented interconnectivity. If I want to ask Seth at Posting and Toasting a quick question I can shoot him a tweet or email and have an answer about the Knicks within minutes. Alternatively I could pull up Hoophype to check their salary structure or search every rumor involving Eddy Curry for the past few months. It's possible, and actually pretty simple, to have a second, third, fourth, or twelfth favorite team that's located hundreds of miles from your home.
So why should you, an ATLien who loves J-Smoove care about Memphis? And why should Lakers fans deign to lower their eyes to a 24 win team with about half their payroll? Listed below is a reason for fans of every single NBA team to care about the Memphis Grizzlies.
Boston Celtics: Surely some of you are UConn fans, and Memphis is quickly transforming into the Huskies of the South. With Rudy Gay, Hasheem Thabeet, Marcus Williams and possibly Jeff Adrien all suiting up for the Grizzlies, you'll see plenty of familiar faces every night.
New Jersey Nets: Yes, you are officially entering the rebuilding from the ground up phase. If the best free agent you can grab next season is Carlos Boozer, who is basically Zach Randolph minus the mugshots, our rosters will look remarkably similar. Competition will be fierce. I can smell a terrific non-rivalry brewing.
New York Knicks: Didn't get enough Zach Randolph when he was jettisoned early last season? Feel free to get your fill with the Memphis Grizzlies. Also, for a similar product our ticket prices are significantly cheaper.
Philadelphia 76ers: If you watch ESPN's First Take it seems like two players are always in the Dunk competition, Andre Iguodala and Rudy Gay. Instead of having to suffer through Skip Bayless, feel free to watch both Memphis and Philly's games and decide who has the better stuffs yourself.
Toronto Raptors: This one is easy. The Memphis Grizzlies are the bastard child of Vancouver, 'the other' Canadian expansion team. Blood runs thicker than water.
Chicago Bulls: If Memphis and Chicago played more frequently then Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo would be an epic rivalry. Sadly they do not, but that doesn't mean you can't make up your own fake rivalry. Try owning both in a fantasy league, or taking them back-to-back in a NBA 2K9 fantasy draft.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Well, as I've noted before, I should be a Cavaliers fan, so that should be good enough for you too. Also, just as you lose LeBron and plummet into oblivion the Grizzlies will hopefully be emerging as a competitive team.
Detroit Pistons: Because we seem to have passed up A.I., or, if A.I. signs in Memphis, because you fell in love with The Answer and want to keep watching him tear up the court and team chemistry in a different setting.
Indiana Pacers: Rudy Gay vs. Danny Granger was supposed to be the penultimate fantasy question of the season last year. Turns out Danny improved more than anyone could have imagined, whereas Rudy regressed in usage and actually lost significant amounts of production. Still, another great fake rivalry.
Milwaukee Bucks: O.J. Mayo is the new, healthy Michael Redd. Marc Gasol is Andrew Bogut. And you can see the origins of Hakim Warrick looking completely lost on defense.
Atlanta Hawks: If you were one of the Hawks fans who desperately appreciated analyzing the turnaround process of your franchise, then the Grizzlies should appeal to your armchair GM sensibilities. Also if you watch a Memphis game followed by a Hawks game chances are you can create a pretty good fake dunk contest in your mind or on Youtube. Also Ludacris was featured in Hustle and Flow, which was set in Memphis.
Charlotte Bobcats: If you get board of watching Larry Brown's tortoise-like gameplan, the Grizzlies should be a slightly more thrilling way to watch your team lose.
Miami Heat: I'll admit I'm a bit lost on this one. I guess O.J. Mayo is a little like a young Dwayne Wade, if twenty times less dynamic and a much better shooter. To be a realist, the Washington Wizards are really a much better fit here.
Orlando Magic: I love to watch the Magic on television. Never miss their games. I also try to never miss a Grizzlies game on League Pass Broadband. Like the Cavs, I will suggest the Grizzlies on the "if it's good enough for me" corollary.
Washington Wizards: Grizzlies fans might taunt you beating you in the regular season standings and stealing your top-3 lottery pick. But you can remind us that chances are the Wizards will not only be in the playoffs this season, but also didn't draft Hasheem Thabeet.
Dallas Mavericks: Michael Heisley is to running an NBA team as Mark Cuban is to running any other business. That is, great at making money with almost any product.
Houston Rockets: We traded you Darryl Morey's best friend forever Shane Battier for Rudy Gay. It was a move that paid off for the Rockets, but you might be wishing you had Rudy's scoring next season with Yao and T-Mac out.
New Orleans Hornets: Battle for the South. If you follow the Grizzlies chances are you'll be in better position to trash talk during all four games of this seminal non-rivalry every year. Also, I'm pretty sure we are the only more Eastern Western Conference team.
San Antonio Spurs: Ever forget what a slam-dunk looks like? No longer. Also Vancouver should have had a shot at Tim Duncan, but couldn't because of rules against expansion teams entering the lottery. So basically you can stare what should have been your fate straight in the eyes.
Denver Nuggets: The Grizzlies basically run a terrible version of your isolation offense from the Allen Iverson, 135 points or death era. The difference? Rudy Gay isn't Carmelo Anthony, and O.J. Mayo isn't exactly Allen Iverson. That and Hasheem Thabeet won't quite fill Marcus Camby's shoes.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Total rivals. Both rebuilding teams, same record last season. Both vicious predators for mascots. We picked up O.J. Mayo off you, while you got Kevin Love and Mike "Not Magic" Miller from us. Intertwined fates like dueling dragons. I could go on forever. Every Grizzlies fan should follow the Wolves, and every Wolves fan should follow the Grizzlies.
Portland Trailblazers: Your fans seem to still have vested interest in Zach Randolph. I see lots of them here. Also now that the Darius Miles Cold War is over we can kick back with a beer and have a good laugh or two about Memphis murdering your offseason this year. Plus because of time zones it should never be a problem to catch the first half of a Grizzlies game.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant has said he looks up to Rudy Gay. I think it's one of those weird student surpassing the teacher relationship things. Also for some reason everyone hates on the Grizzlies for not spending this offseason despite their terrible record, but forget that the Thunder haven't either, so follow the Grizzlies to get a taste of life without Durant.
Utah Jazz: The Jazz have been the image of a professional, stable front office. The Grizzlies are basically the opposite. Let your hair down. Get wild. I promise it will be fun.
Golden State Warriors: The Warriors are another of my favorite, can't miss on national television teams. Not unlike the Magic, they follow the "if it's good enough for me" corollary. Also Marc Gasol dropped like 30 on you last season, so you might get confused and think he is an All-Star worth following. I'm convinced Golden State fans have a FatHead of every center in the league.
Los Angeles Clippers: You can go to 'worst owner' parties and wear a spliced jersey that reads "Dunleisley" on the back. I'm sure almost everyone will laugh heartily, and you'll probably be a hit with the ladies as long as you can keep from binge drinking away the pain.
Los Angeles Lakers: I'm pretty sure that a little known facet of the Pau Gasol trade was that every Lakers fan needs to at least remember that there is an NBA team in Memphis. I tried interviewing Jack and Denzel, but didn't get any leads, so it's hard to say if this provision is being respected.
Phoenix Suns: Whenever I read message boards I always see trades that involve Rudy Gay for Amar'e Stoudemire. Why? Amar'e is incredible offensively, though he doesn't play much defense. Rudy is solid offensively, and is generally disinterested on defense. Trust me, I know Rudy can dunk and hit the three, which are a rare combination and necessary skills in the 7 seconds or less system, but you don't want him more than Amar'e. If you watched the Grizzlies more often than you would know better.
Sacramento Kings: I'm pretty sure that we're slightly ahead of you in the rebuilding process. Tyreke Evans is a product of Memphis. Kings-Grizzlies games are typically good for a few laughs. Some nights you'll be able to say, "well at least the Kings didn't look THIS bad." Our combined attendance is about three thousand higher than the league best. I could go on and on, but remember, bad teams need to stick together.
D-League: Your All-Stars would probably beat our bench, and our front office has gambled on the upside of a "young core." Also, not to crunch numbers, but our ticket prices are probably pretty similar to yours, as is our attendance, so you will feel right at home in FedEx Forum. Hamed Haddadi? A D-League call-up.
Know that list is far from definitive, I'm sure each and every one of you has your own reasons to follow the Grizzlies. Feel free to post them in the comments below, maybe at some point I'll compile a list of the best responses. And be sure to stop by Straight Outta Vancouver all season for more coverage of your new second favorite team.