On July 23rd, 2009, Grizzly Bear Blues launched as Straight Outta Vancouver - a nod to the former home of the now Memphis Grizzlies. The site manager at the time, DJ Turtle Face, explained the debut of his new site with a post titled Big Bang Theory, and the site was off and running. Reading that post and the goals that GBB legend DJ Turtle Face had for the site at the time are a fun blast in the past, yet much of what he stated remains relevant today as we embark on our second decade covering the Grizzlies as part of the wild and wonderful NBA.
One line in particular stood out to me-
...my heart is back in Memphis.
I can relate.
My own GBB journey began back in 2012, as a commenter named MulliGrizz. My very first FanPost went up on February 28th, 2013 - almost six and a half years ago now. Over the years I have had the opportunity to start a podcast, write literally more than 1,000 posts, meet some of the very best in Memphis media, and cover playoff series and other Grizzlies games. When I first asked what the worth of the “Grindfather” was, I had no way of knowing it would take me to where I have gotten covering the NBA team of the great city of Memphis.
But my story is not unique. In fact, it is what makes Memphis - and this site - great. If you’re willing to work, and be passionate about things, and to get up after you fall, you can succeed.
As Marc Cohn said - when you haven’t got a prayer, you’ve got a prayer in Memphis.
What has driven GBB since the day it was born was, as Mr. Face described it, an intent to build a strong community. It’s the people. As the site has passed from greats like Tom Lorenzo and Kevin Lipe to my friend Chris Faulkner to me, various managers have had a variety of ways to try to develop that sense of an online place where people can gather and share in their favorite team’s highs and lows. There were plenty of highs, and lots of lows, but through it all SOV - eventually GBB - was to be a safe spot to feel sad, or happy, or maybe a bit of both within your fandom.
Whether outwardly in the comments, or simply through reading through the articles, as time has gone on that is exactly what Grizzly Bear Blues has become. Our staff has changed, and grown drastically - just yesterday I announced the addition of five new staff writers, and the promotion of two writers to new roles within our site. We have said goodbye to many talented folks who have gone on to other places and become great - the aforementioned Lorenzo and Lipe took over NetsDaily, the Brooklyn Nets SB Nation page, and the Memphis Flyer, respectfully. Jonah Jordan, a former GBB writer, now is the lead Memphis Tigers Football beat writer for the Daily Memphian. On and on I could go about the way that GBB has helped many people better themselves and achieve their goals...and in some cases dreams.
We have also added numerous media forms and podcasts over the years, with the flagship GBBLive and our terrific newer show The Core Four currently inhabiting the network, with more to come. The ways of interacting with our community have adapted over time, but the end goal has always been the same - to foster a sense of a Grizzlies community.
But even more than that - GBB is about family.
For seven years (six and a half writing), I have been a part of this place. And it truly does feel like a family - our corner of the internet where we can be our Grizzliest selves, in a world where not too many folks care as much about Memphis and their NBA team as we do. We know how special the city and their team are, and while others don’t always see that it doesn’t make it any less real.
Experiencing Memphis and their Grizzlies is very, very real. It changed me.
And it’s why I am still here, dedicating myself to making this place as good as I can make it.
It’s why we prioritize build a staff that can better represent our city. It is why we strive to be the very best site - not fan blog, site, period - covering all aspects of the Memphis Grizzlies that we can be. It is why we are proud of our partnership with I Love Memphis, and 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis, and will continue to look to be active in Memphis in work to help build our community. As we embark on our next 10 years, we hope to not only be a part of your website traffic and podcast downloads...
We hope to make you proud.
So happy birthday, to a place that helped make Memphis a home to a MulliGrizz and a website that will continue to be a proud member of SB Nation, of the Memphis Grizzlies fan experience, and of a community and family far larger than us. To those that came before, thank you for helping to build something so worth working for.
And to the future - the next ten years and beyond?
You ain’t seen nothing yet.