Photos: Memphis remembers Silky Sullivan

Beale Street icon Silky Sullivan will be missed. One of the most well-known bar owners in Memphis’ history, Silky was a fixture at his popular downtown establishment.

Seeing Silky at Silky O’Sullivan’s was just as much a part of the experience as listening to dueling pianos, sitting on the patio, looking for the goat or drinking Beale Street’s most famous signature drink the Diver.

Here are some of the great memories of Silky shared on social media as a way to remember a Memphis legend:

Email: kevin@memphisport.com
Twitter: @cerrito

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Takeaways from the 2012-13 Memphis Grizzlies’ Season

Photo by Michael Cardwell

Photo by Michael Cardwell

The Memphis Grizzlies’ season is over. That is unfortunate. But man it was some kind of a ride. New owners, a a dismantling of the Miami Heat, being the talk of the NBA for the entire first month of the season,a blockbuster trade, Marc Gasol cursing in a postgame interview, uncharted playoff territory, a physical assault of Baby Blake Griffin, and “Whooping That Trick” are a just a few examples of what made this season, the best in the franchise’s young history, so magical.

Now that everything is said in done for the 2012-13 Memphis Grizzlies, here are a few main takeaways from the past season.

5) The Security of the New Ownership:

Robert Pera and Co. certainly made their presence known this year. Jason Levien, Pera’s man in charge, came in and immediately started shaking up the franchise. His hiring of ESPN’s John Hollinger, the foremost expert on basketball analytics and advanced statistics, told the NBA that the way the team was handled was going to change. His trade of Rudy Gay showed the world that he wasn’t afraid to take risks and make unpopular decisions if he genuinely thought it was the best thing for the franchise. His handling of Lionel Hollins’ contract situation has made it clear that the front office isn’t going to make hasty decisions when they aren’t 100% behind them.pera presser

Michael Heisley was a fine owner, but so often he made choices that were either short term decisions that could cause long term problems or he made decisions because he was the owner and it was his right. Pera, Levien, Hollinger, and the rest of the new regime have made it abundantly clear that the decisions they make are going to be well thought out, deeply researched, and ultimately ones that they think are going to make us a championship contender. The city and the fans may not always agree with the new owners, but I believe we should rest easy knowing that they are trying to make the Grizzlies the best team that they can possibly be.

Side note: I hope the Grizzlies can keep Chris Wallace as he has been invaluable to the team’s recent success, but I fear that he may indeed leave to go to a place where he can have the same amount of say he had here before the new ownership came in.

4) The National Attention:

In the midst of our first run to the Western Conference Finals it was commonplace to have multiple internet/magazine/newspaper articles, TV segments, and pregame promos dedicated to the Memphis Grizzlies. It was exciting to know that every day you could read 100s of pieces on the internet discussing how great the Grizz were playing or how they were the new favorites of the West. It was such a nice change to see folks on Sportscenter, ESPN deskPTI, and Around the Horn talking about ZBO and Marc and Mike for more than 30 seconds at a time. It was like a dream knowing that Magic Johnson, Bill Simmons, Mike Wilbon, and Jalen Rose were eating in local restaurants and walking down Beale Street and telling the world how great Memphis is. For once, the Memphis Grizzlies were media darlings and not the laughingstock of the NBA. This was our time in the sun and the team, the city, and the fans absolutely relished in it. Memphis has never looked better or shone brighter. We deserved this.

The hope, of course, is that the extended coverage the Bluff City and the Grizzlies got over the past six weeks will translate into more national broadcasts next season, more fans being made from outside of the Memphis area, and more people looking at Memphis as a great destination city instead of simply the place where Elvis lived.

3) The All-Around Emergence of Quincy Pondexter:

Shane Battier’s crown as Memphis’ favorite adopted son is in danger of being taken by Quincy Pondexter. After an

Photo by Justin Ford

Photo by Justin Ford

up and down season and a semi-serious injury, he solidified himself in the playoffs as a primary scoring option and athletic defender off the bench. His ability to hit a corner three is something the Grizz need badly, but aside from his playing ability, he offers so much to this city. Q-Pon is constantly involved in community events, spent some of his time off as the result of his injury as part of the SportSouth broadcast team for local games, and even recently scored a date with Miss Tennessee. He is quickly proving to be a real asset to the community and a great role player for a playoff team. If you ask me, I think he breaks into the starting rotation next season. Expect to see an uptick in Pondexter jerseys represented at FedExForum in the very near future.

2) The Love Shared and Commonality between City and Team:

It’s no secret that Memphis loves the Grizzlies. All you had to do was walk around downtown during the playoffs to see how much support our hometown team was getting. Even the national media devoted plenty of pieces to how much Memphis and the Grizzlies fed off of one another. Memphis might not be flashy or ritzy. The Grizzlies might not love acrobatic dunks or beautiful shooting strokes. But both the team and the city sure know how to play the hand they’ve been dealt. The city embraces its roots and its history. It’s not afraid to address its checkered past and point to how that is shaped what it has become now. The Grizzlies aren’t going to try to be something they aren’t. They’re going to play tough, hardnosed basketball. They’re going to beat you up and wear you out. The team knows their identity. The city knows its identity too. That is why the union of Memphis and the Grizzlies is a perfect one.

Photo by Justin Ford

Photo by Justin Ford

I heard a radio broadcast this week that pointed out how great it was for the Grizz fans to stay until the final buzzer sounded in our last game against the Spurs, one they knew was lost with about a minute and a half left, just to let the Grizzlies know how proud they were of them. The person on the radio said that something like that would never happen in Boston or New York or Chicago or Miami; that those fans would have bolted for the exits. He said those cities try to act like they have everything in common with their teams, but in fact have very little. He went on to say that Memphis is one of the few pro towns where the team and the city mirror each other almost identically. And that is something Memphians should be extremely proud of.

Zach Randolph addressed the relationship between city and himself after wearing out the Spurs in Game 6 of the 2011 playoffs. It can easily translate into describing the city and the entire team as well. You’ve probably heard it, but it can’t be stressed how true it really is. He said:

I love this city, man, they love me back, you know what I’m saying? So it’s good — it’s a blue-collar town and I’m a blue-collar player, I’m a hard worker and this is a hard-workin’ town, ain’t nothin’ been given easy to me, ain’t nothin’ easy been given to this town, so it’s a fit!

1) It’s Mike and Marc’s Team Now:

Over the past three seasons, the Memphis Grizzlies have been Zach Randolph’s and Tony Allen’s team (Never Rudy

Photo by Justin Ford

Photo by Justin Ford

Gay’s), and that worked well for us as the regular season and post season success can attest to. But after the Rudy Gay trade this year, two players were forced to step up in ways that had not been asked of them before. Mike Conley and Marc Gasol had to show the rest of the team and the NBA that the Grizzlies was their team now. Marc continued blossoming into the best big man in the NBA and Mike, especially during the first two series of the playoffs, showed he was a premier NBA point guard. They became the leaders. Going forward it’s clear that this is their team now.

Zach and Tony brought us relevance. They carried us out of the mud, or really, other teams into the mud. They were the primary reasons we morphed into an NBA contender. But Zach is getting older and Tony is a free agent. The new ownership could very well trade Zach and let Tony walk away. That would be a shame, but the fans have to realize that it’s a viable option that could make us better in the long run. I’m not advocating either move, but the reality is that either or both could happen. If we let Lionel Hollins leave as well, then the entire style of the franchise could change in a big way. I don’t think the Grizz will leave the grit ‘n’ grind style behind, but I do think that you see them try to step up and be a more offensive oriented team. It’s a known fact that the NBA Champions over the past decade have been great defensively AND offensively, and unfortunately, the Grizzlies can only claim to be great in one of those ways. Luckily Marc and Mike are great defensively and offensively. They are perfectly capable of changing games on both ends of the court, and that should be very encouraging to Grizzlies’ fans as we head into the next chapter of the team’s history.

Photo by Justin Ford

Photo by Justin Ford

I’m not implying that the Grizzlies are going to change coaches and try to completely alter who they are as they move forward. I’m not saying that Zach and Tony, if they stay, won’t help form the team’s identity in the future. I’m simply saying that Mike and Marc are the new faces of this team. They are the ones that will determine our level of success. It’s scary to think that the team is moving in a new direction, but having seen how capable Mike and Marc are of leading the team, I think that the Memphis Grizzlies are in a wonderful position to continue being successful and will be contending for NBA Championships for the next several seasons.

Warner Russell is a regular contributor for MemphiSport and The Wise Guise. Read his non-sports stuff here. Follow him @uncle_warny.

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Memphis named No. 1 NBA city for African American players to visit

The Bluff City made such a good impression on ESPN analyst Jalen Rose while he was visiting for the Western Conference Finals, he declared Memphis the No. 1 NBA city for African American players to visit.

Watch Rose present his first ever ‘Black Guy City Power Rankings’:

Email: kevin@memphisport.com
Twitter: @cerrito

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All the nice stuff ESPN’s Bill Simmons said about Memphis in his podcast

ESPN desk

Memphis is a city that will dislike you for saying one thing they disagree with and love you for saying a few things they do agree with.

Bill Simmons said some misinformed stuff about Memphis and MLK in his podcast this week.

The ESPN analyst, who recently visited Memphis for the first time during the Western Conference Finals, also said some really nice stuff about the Bluff City. But you won’t see any of those favorable quotes making national headlines.

Here are some of the positive things Bill Simmons  said about Memphis in his BS Report podcast (5.29.13):

“We really loved Memphis. That is a fun city to hang out in for four days.”

“Nice compacted downtown…Good food.”

“We rode the trolley, that was kind of fun.”

“Very unassuming city. They are just nice people.”

“The best part about Memphis is we went to this place, Gus’s Fired Chicken. One of the 10 best restaurants in America probably.”

“The Memphis people were nice.”

Even before any of the hoopla started about Simmons’ MLK comments, he tweeted this thank you note to Memphis:Simmons Memphis tweet

Plus at the end of the ‘controversial’ podcast, Simmons’ partner Jalen Rose declared Memphis as the No. 1 NBA city for African American players to visit.

Email: kevin@memphisport.com
Twitter: @cerrito

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Grizzlies forward Quincy Pondexter uses Twitter to score a date with Miss Tennessee

Pondexter (2)

Less than 48 hours after the Memphis Grizzlies’ season came to an end in the Western Conference Finals, forward Quincy Pondexter was out looking for a summer romance.  Within a few minutes, Q-Pon had a date set up with Miss Tennessee 2012.

Here is how it all went down:

Twitter: @cerrito
Email: kevin@memphisport.com

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Top 5 GIFs Of The Grizzlies 2013 Playoff Run

The Memphis Grizzlies’ historic 2013 playoff run was full of memorable moments. Here is a look back at some of those moments with the Top 5 Grizzlies Playoff GIFs…

Honorable mention: Q-Pon posterizing Boris Diaw.

 http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/article/media_slots/photos/000/874/436/pondexter_original.gif?1369193503

[via Bleacher Report]

5) Z-Bo and Tony Allen celebrating the Grizzlies advancing to the WCF.

http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/2633187/grizzpride.gif

4) TA’s performance after being a victim of a flagrant foul.

 

3) Z-Bo choke slamming Blake Griffin.

Zbogrif_medium

2) Tayshaun Prince dunking on the Thunder.

http://cdn2.mocksession.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/PRINCE-DUNK.gif

1) Z-Bo getting ejected at the end of the series-clinching game vs. the Clippers.

http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/2574571/zboexits.gif

Email: kevin@memphisport.com
Twitter: @cerrito

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Recap Of Every 2013 Grizzlies Playoff Win, As Told By Justin Timberlake

Pic by Art by Exelbierd

Photo courtesy of Art by Exelbierd

The Memphis Grizzlies’ most famous minority owner Justin Timberlake did not attend any games during the franchise’s historic playoff run.

(JT did make an appearance at a game against the Lakers earlier in the season.)

(Lil Wayne was the biggest celeb to show up at a Grizz playoff game.)

Even though he wasn’t in Memphis, Timberlake still kept up with his Grizzlies’ postseason success.

JT tweeted after every win and made no comment after losses.

Here’s a look back at the Grizzlies 2013 franchise-best playoff run, as told by Justin Timberlake’s postgame victory tweets…

Email: kevin@memphisport.com
Twitter: @cerrito

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Mike Conley following the Western Conference Finals: ‘We will be back’

Photo by Justin Ford

Photo by Justin Ford

The historic run by the Memphis Grizzlies came to end after the San Antonio Spurs swept the Grizzlies 4 games to none.  Some people will make jokes about how the Grizzlies got swept, but that is not how most of the Grizzlies players and fans are looking at it.

When Lionel Hollins arrived as the head coach, he had to change the attitude and chemistry of the team.  This off season will dictate the immediate future of the franchise.  The two building blocks of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol will be back on the team next season.  However, there are still questions about Tony Allen and Zack Randolph.

Here are the Grizzlies in their own words:

Tony Allen:  “I BLEED BLUE”

  • If you are not back here next year, how do you see the transition for next year?

“It is all in God’s hands, I bleed blue.  One thing I have done is, I’ve made a name for myself  a lot of teams around the league know who I am.  I am focused on being here.  I have built relationships with the guys.  I mean real bond with the guys.  I’ve showed the guys what that grit and grind is all about.  It will be hard to leave the city, where they have shown me so much love.”

  • How special has this year been for you?

“It has been great one.  We lost “Double D” (Dana Davis) and I know he was looking down on us.  I think everything that took off for us.  I am happy with the season we had.  There is no reason to hold our heads down.  We fought hard. We showed the city what winning is all about.  It is just unfortunate to lose four in a row.”

  • On the Grizzlies fans:

“They are the best sixth man of the year.  They have been with us from day one every since I got here.  The fans have always shown us love and we would not have been here without them.  Salute to the fans.”

  • Did you get a cut from all of the growl towel slogans you suggested?

“I really did not care about money or nothing like that.  I just felt like my presence and laying down the foundation on how to win games on the defensive end.  The Grit and Grind should forever live forward in the Grindhouse aka the FedExForum.  I’ve got to thank Chris Wallace in showing to give me that vision.”

Mike Conley:  “WE WILL BE BACK!!!”

  • Describe the love that this city gave you and you give them.

“This city has been great.  They have to endure the good and the bad and they have stuck with us.  They are loyal. They have been there for us.  It means the world to us. I am proud of them for being there to push us through and supporting us when we were not good.  It is tough on us on letting them down.  We will be back.”

  • This team is known for their defense, why were you not able to contain Tony Parker?

“He was in a zone they play so well together.  Any adjustment we made they made another one.  We played well for 18 seconds on the shot clock and he would make a play.  That is why he is one of the best and they are heading to the finals.”

Zack Randolph,I WANT TO RETIRE A GRIZZLY

  • How does it feel to know that it is over?

“It is difficult.  I don’t know what to say they beat us.  The two overtime games could have went either way.  It could have easily being tied up.  We gave it 110 percent.  You have got to take your hats off to the Spurs they have a great team from their bench to their starting five.”

“The city has been great. This ride has been great I hate that it ended like this, but we got to keep our heads up for the things we accomplished for the city and the organization.  Hopefully this core will stay in place and we are able to add a few more pieces some shooters and some depth.”

Marc Gasol: “TOMORROW WILL BE A BETTER DAY!”

  • What were the Spurs doing to keep you from cutting their lead?

“They were getting stops and they were executing well offensively.  They made some tough stops and ran when they had to.”

  • What can you take from this series?

“Tomorrow will be a better than it is right now.  We wanted to win and play another game.  We were not able to put it out.  We played and hustled, but we did not have enough to get over the hump.  They taught us a lesson on how to execute.  We are going to create habits that will work for us”

Coach Lionel Hollins

  • Question: When you came here came here you were able to put your stamp on this team?

“Every coach tries to establish an identity with a team and try to get a team to buy into it.  What I am proud of is I was blessed to have a group that wanted to win.  They did not know how, because they were young.  They did not know how to work hard, because they have never had to.  I tried to show them the way and to put them in an environment that they could be successful.  They did not come smiling saying that great, this is great they came they were kicking and scratching not to do it, because it is easier to do it in a manner which is easier.  They could have chosen to quit and rebel as well, but they choose to fight and they are reaping the rewards for us right now.”

Terry Davis is a regular contributor for MemphiSport. Follow him @terryd515.

Mark Cuban and other celebs react to the end of the Grizzlies’ franchise-best season

Here are what some famous people had to say on Twitter after the Memphis Grizzlies’ historic season came to an end following Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs:

(For photos of celebrities at Game 4 of Spurs vs. Grizzlies, click here)

(For Joseph Gordon-Levitt and other celebs reacting to the Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals, click here)

Email: kevin@memphisport.com
Twitter: @cerrito

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Western Conference Finals Game 4: Photo Recap

Though the Grizzlies’ epic ride came to a disappointing end last night against the Spurs, the season was still one to be remembered. Check out some of the best pictures of people using the #GrizzNation hashtag at Monday night’s game.

(For photos of celebrities at Game 4 of Spurs vs. Grizzlies, click here)

(For Mark Cuban and other celebs react to the end of the Grizzlies’ franchise-best season, click here)

 

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