What to say about these two pieces of work. I hope I don't find myself at a loss for words.
Yesterday, Joe Mullinax, as golden throated as anyone, wrote a fitting goodbye letter to Jeff Green. He did well and it was well deserved.
But this is not that.
This is the place where we all get to say goodbye. All of our perceptions. All of our opinions. All of our hopes and desires. All of our complaints and fears.
Today we lay to rest the Memphis Grizzlies career for Courtney Lee and Jeff Green, two of the more talented players to don Grizzlies jerseys, yet two players who have had the most varying opinions about them.
And today we lay those aside.
So raise your glass, play the @#^#%# song, and allow me to recount and pay a The Wire-style tribute to our former comrades.
Courtney Lee was born on a fine day in early fall in 1985He was an above average child, well liked and athletically talented. His mother reported that he especially excelled at potty training, shooting around 45%, although he had to be implored to shoot more often.
Jeff Green was born on a terrible late summer day, and that was probably his fault. Childhood was not easy for Jeff, as he often times reminded teachers in school that they had forgotten to pick up homework. He also ruined Santa Claus for no less that seventy children.
Both of these young men had one goal and one dream in one game: basketball.
Courtney would flourish out of Western Kentucky University, where their mascot was the Hilltoppers and their school motto was Sicut Pilum Mittet in Dammo*. He would be drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 22nd pick of the 2008 draft. The highlight of his career would be getting to play in the 2010 NBA Finals with the Magic, where they would eventually lose to Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and the Los Angeles Lakers.
*Shoot the damn ball in Latin
Jeff Green would attend Georgetown University, where he would share Big East Rookie of the Year with some other bum, as well as winning Big East Player of the Year his junior season along with playing in the Final Four to Mike Conley and the Ohio State University Buckeyes. He would be drafted by the Boston Celtics with the fifth pick of the 2007 NBA draft, where he would miss being drafted by future boss Chris Wallace by ten days. Jeff Green’s early career highlights would be getting
to be a part of the Boston Celtics championship team getting traded for Ray Allen in the first big three in the Eastern Conference and getting to go to the NBA finals with the 2011 Oklahoma City Thunder getting traded for Kendrick Perkins so the Thunder could make the finals.
Both of these players would subject of a few trades themselves over the years. Here’s a list of players that each of these guys have been traded for until their time in Memphis.
A draft pick that would become Alex Abrines (no clue)
A varied list for sure.
But finally, their playing careers would find purpose and meaning when they were traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. On January 14th, 2014, Lee would be traded from the Boston Celtics for a player with a big bald head, a headband, and big ass, and loads of hate from his coach. On January 12th of 2015, Jeff Green would become a member of the Memphis Grizzlies in what would become known as the "Russ Smith Trade," where he would be traded from Boston for a zombie, a popular dog owner, and a franchise crippling first round draft pick.
Tayshaun of the Dead
Both would play with mixed results. Courtney Lee could be included in the best 3 and D in franchise history, and will forever be known for this play.
Suck it Sacramento
However, the top three things said about Courtney Lee on Twitter during his tenure with the Grizzlies are as follows:
1) OH JUST SHOOT THE DAMN BALL
2) SHOOT IT DUDE…MY GOD JUST SHOOT IT
4)Damn he’s fine.
Meanwhile, Jeff Green never did anything good nor played well ever or ever won any games. He was terrible on defense, terrible as a ball handler, and it is even his fault he was in the starting lineup over Tony Allen. He wasn’t even a team guy, and never sacrificed for the team, like taking the crap spewed on the internet over him with grace and dignity or offered to come off the bench to work with the second unit. Nope…he sucked.
Trade deadline came last week, and it was time for a change. With both of these guys contracts up at the end of the season, the Marc Gasol injury, and the prospect of losing a playoff series to the Golden State Warriors in three, the Grizzlies front office made a change. Last Tuesday, Lee was traded to the Charlotte Hornets for a glorified D-league player, a cast member of Sons of Anarchy, and four thousand second round draft picks. Green though, would face a sentence worse than death, being traded to the LA Clippers for Michael Douglas from Falling Down, and a draft pick that will pay off when I’m 40.
Parting can be such sweet sorrow.
I’ve been trying to collect my thoughts about the trade. I’ve been a basketball fan for a long time. I grew up a Houston Rockets fan (hate me all you want), and I’ve seen Hakeem Olajuwon in a Raptors jersey. I don’t take these things personally.
But some do. And I get it. There were actual Jeff Green/Courtney Lee fans out there: people who fought the good fight, who took the slings and arrows, will honestly miss seeing them on the court, and in the end had to deal with the idea that this was it for them. And maybe we all should be more sensitive to this.
I’ve been trying to pick out a song that really kind of represents the experience we have had with these players. Maybe something from the Grateful Dead, or maybe the Rolling Stones will fit the bill. But even this trade makes me wistful for the Beatles’ Let It Be album. It was in the winter of discontent from them too making it, when they would record only one more time in their career. They jettisoned some members, and eventually went their separate ways. But like always, they will be lead back to the long and winding road that is fandom.
So once more…lift your glasses to our departed heroes. Maybe a different song this time.