Memphis - L.A. Rivalry Heats Up On and Off the Court

Memphis - L.A. Rivalry Heats Up On and Off the Court

As the battle between the L.A. Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies heats up on the court, so does the battle of the words between the Bluff City and the City of Angels.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - As the battle between the L.A. Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies heats up on the court, so does the battle of the words between the Bluff City and the City of Angels.

Memphis Grizzlies fans shouldn’t buy tickets—they should buy bullet proof vests.

That is one of the nicer things Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers wrote Friday morning April 26, 2013.

Needless to say, that didn’t go over too well in the Bluff City; many Memphians were ticked off.

Maybe it was tongue in check. Maybe it was just a reaction to the Grizzlies game three win. Maybe it was to poke a little fun at the intense rivalry between the Clippers and the Grizzlies.

Whatever Simers’ reasons for writing the column—Memphians were not amused.

“I’ve known T.J. forever and this is sort of his act.” Memphis ESPN Radio host Gary Parrish, told abc24.com.

The headline of Simers latest act read: “Clippers in a bad place; still in Memphis.”

Simers was referring to billboards put up by the Memphis Police Association that state: “Enter at your own risk.”

He also wrote: “I’ve put my life on the line to be here in this rat hole.”

It got the Bluff City’s attention.

“It has been wild,” said Parrish, “to the point where Mayor Wharton is discussing it.”

“I don’t want to get off course and start focusing on some columnist from L.A.” Wharton said.

Yet he did—like a lot of others.

‘Onekeeper’ responded online: “Nice to know class is not a prerequisite to work for Los Angeles media outlets.”

For those bothered by Simers, Grizzlies sideline reporter Rob Fischer, had some advice.

“Who cares,” Fischer told abc24.com, “don’t let it bother you.”

Fischer also hosts a talk show on 560 Sports Radio in Memphis.

But, maybe it’s in the Bluff City’s DNA—we are bothered.

“Are you going to defend our city or not?” Parrish goaded Memphis Commercial Appeal sports columnist Geoff Calkins, on his Friday show.

He was only partly kidding.

“We did it last year,” said Calkins, “and we went back and forth. That was fine—but I was not going to do it again. So, I was kind of embarrassed that we were going to do it again; but we’re doing it again.”

Calkins promised an answer to Simers in his Saturday, April 27th column.

Meanwhile, Fischer’s best advice: “Don’t read the L.A. Times.”

Parrish put it all in perspective.

“I talked to Mike Conley, the Grizzlies point guard, about this earlier today—and he said, 'I don’t know who T.J. Simers is. '"

Bazinga!

And remember—not everybody from Los Angeles hates Memphis.

“Oh, it’s fabulous,” said Clippers reporter Madeline Burke, on Fischer’s radio show, “lots of southern hospitality; plenty of good BBQ.”

So, root for the home team—and make sure T.J. Simers has to come back to the Bluff City for game six.

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