National Spotlight Shines on Grizzlies

National Spotlight Shines on Grizzlies

According to one national sportswriter, the Memphis Grizzlies have emerged as one of the favorites to make the NBA Finals. That means a much brighter spotlight on our hometown team.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Grizzlies fever continues to grow in the Bluff City - that’s a given - but now other parts of the country are catching on.

According to one national sportswriter, the Memphis Grizzlies have emerged as one of the favorites to make the NBA Finals. That means a much brighter spotlight on our hometown team.

Praise for the Grizzlies is coming from everywhere these days; Charles Barkley loves the Grizzlies on TNT, and Memphis is getting a cover story in Sports Illustrated.

“On a national level, I think the Grizzlies are a great story from a reporter’s standpoint because nobody knows their story," said Marty Snider, an NBA sideline reporter for games on TNT.

That’s just part of the Grizzlies appeal; all that winning also attracts the spotlight.

“They are a national story because they are a real contender,” stated Lee Jenkins, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated.

And when you are a contender all the big shows want you, like ESPN’s “Mike & Mike.”

“Here’s the coach of Memphis,” said ESPN radio host Mike Greenburg, “Lionel Hollins. I don’t know if this is good news or bad news—but both Golic and I think you are going to wind up in the finals. Frankly we’re the kiss of death.”

On that national radio appearance, Hollins exhibited a sense of humor.

“I listen to you guys every morning,” said Hollins, “you are the kiss of death; so don’t say that.”

In his travels from one NBA city to another, Snider believes most fans cop an attitude about Memphis.

“They think Memphis is a small town,” Snider said, “and they think Memphis’ style of basketball is not fun to watch, but it is fun to watch - it’s almost an art.”

“They’re different than other teams in the Western Conference and that makes them hard to play against,” Jenkins said.

The consensus is the Grizzlies’ inside-out style of play is so old school conventional, that it’s now non-conventional.

Z-Bo has even been celebrated with a Stephen A. Smith rap song on ESPN: “He’s a big teddy bear unless you mess with him; Zach Randolph can ball.”

And he’s balling in terrific atmosphere.

“It is one of the best environments in the NBA right now,” Jenkins told abc24.com, “the thing about Memphis that comes across when you’re there - it is one of the rare, maybe the only true, basketball city.”

And it’s one that all the national media-types pick to advance in the playoffs.

“I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the series with OKC go six games,” Snider said, “but I don’t see Oklahoma City being able to win the series.”

Like Snider, Jenkins picked the Grizzlies to beat Oklahoma City.

And being called the one, true basketball city—well that’s just sweet.
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