Darn these young Grizz cubs. They just won’t stop coming up with reasons for Memphis to love them.
It’s not enough that Ja Morant’s freakishly great rookie season actually has made the playoffs a realistic hope.
Or that rookie head coach Taylor Jenkins – recently anointed Western Conference Coach of the Month for January – clearly has a ‘master of chemistry’ degree for making a rebuilding roster the talk of the NBA.
It wasn’t enough that they compete hard every night, playing a fast, furious and WINNING style of basketball or that Morant has the cojones to talk smack to NBA MVP James Harden.
All of that has been plenty of reason to fall in love with the scary potential of these Grizzlies.
But no …. Dillon Brooks had to give us a #GRZNXTGEN quote – one almost certainly destined for a growl towel at FedExForum should the Grizz make the playoffs this season.
Much like Tony Allen’s “All Heart, Grit. Grind,” moment back in 2011, Brooks’ came after a win, in unscripted remarks to media.
Brooks and the Grizzlies had just beaten the Detroit Pistons. But with the NBA trade deadline looming, someone asked Brooks about Andre Iguodala, who opted to not participate in this reboot.
Brooks initially deferred, saying he respected that Iguodala is doing what’s right for his career. But that’s not what’s going to end up on a growl towel. The rest:
“A guy that’s on our team doesn’t want to be on our team? I can’t wait ‘til we find a way to trade him so we can play him and show him what really Memphis is about.”
Yup. Dillon Brooks just went “really Memphis” on Iguodala. And it set off rockets across the internet.
Several reporters tweeted the comment. Morant retweeted it, which made it go viral. Iguodala’s former teammate, none other than Steph Curry posted an Instagram tweet of Iggy holding his finals MVP trophy, with a “shhh” emoji.
Morant fired back with a photo of Kevin Durant – who won two Finals MVPs with the Warriors after Iguodala. Ouch.
Of course, it’s over now. The Grizzlies traded Iguodala, Crowder and Hill to Miami, bringing Justise Winslow and Dion Waiters to Memphis. Former Grizz James Johnson was routed to Minneapolis in a deal bringing Gorgui Dieng back. And Bruno Caboclo was traded to Houston for Jordan Bell.
Oh yeah, and Memphis signed an extension with Brooks, worth 3 years, $35 million – a brilliant move locking down Brooks, who has muscled his way into being one of the leagues more reliable and rugged shooting guards.
But it seems that in addition to all of the aforementioned reasons to love the Grizzlies, these young cubs feel disrespected, disregarded and overlooked – the exact underdog mentality so many Memphians proudly embrace.
That they also seem to have the talent, poise and youthful bravado to back it up makes it all the sweeter. Come April, maybe Memphis will show the world “what really Memphis is about.”
You know, by holding up a towel that says “Really Memphis!”