Throwback Thursday: WrestleMania weekend with Double J

WrestleMania weekend is almost here and we want to help you get ready.  This Saturday on Cerrito Live, multiple-time World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett joins us to talk about the biggest weekend of the year for sports entertainment.  Jarrett’s company Global Force Wrestling is also abuzz in the wrestling world after announcing event dates in Las Vegas this Summer.  Cerrito Live airs live every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm CT on on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM .  Be sure to follow Jeff Jarrett Global Force Wrestling on Twitter.

This week’s classic Memphis Wrestling clip is from April in 1993 – over twenty years ago.  A young, upcoming Jeff Jarrett went one on one with Shawn Michaels for the WWF Intercontinental Championship inside the Mid-South Coliseum.  This clip has it all:  Mid-South Coliseum, Mr. WrestleMania, Double J and it all happened in Memphis, TN.

ICYMI: Jeff Jarrett joined MSL last year to discuss classic Memphis Wrestling, Memphis Wildfire Wrestling and his new promotion Global Force Wrestling.  To listen in full, please click here.

Don’t Forget:  Memphis Wildfire Wrestling returns on April 23rd!  Catch all the action at Woodland Hills Country Club in Cordova, TN.  For the latest info, click here.

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and Cerrito Live. Follow him @DustinStarr.

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Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki reflects on playing days with close friend Steve Nash

NBA SOUTHWEST DIVISION REPORT

DALLAS — When Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said after the 2003-04 season that he wanted to build his franchise around a younger Dirk Nowitzki then passed up signing Steve Nash to a long-term deal, among those who expressed their displeasure with the move was Nowitzki.

BEST OF FRIENDS --- Dirk Nowitzki (right) and Steve Nash had become close friends during the six seasons in which they played together for the Dallas Mavericks. However, after Mavs owner Mark Cuban had declined to match the Phoenix Suns’ offer to Nash, which was a reported $63 million over six years, Nash reluctantly bolted Dallas for Phoenix after the 2003-04 season, news Nowitzki admittedly didn’t sit well with him. (Photo by D. Clarke/Getty Images)

BEST OF FRIENDS — Dirk Nowitzki (right) and Steve Nash had become close friends during the six seasons in which they played together for the Dallas Mavericks. However, after Mavs owner Mark Cuban had declined to match the Phoenix Suns’ offer to Nash, which was a reported $63 million over six years, Nash reluctantly bolted Dallas for Phoenix after the 2003-04 season, news Nowitzki admittedly didn’t sit well with him. (Photo by D. Clarke/Getty Images)

Nowitzki and Nash had become close friends during the six seasons in which they played together here.

However, after Cuban declined to match the Phoenix Suns’ offer to Nash, which was a reported $63 million over six years, Nash reluctantly bolted Dallas for Phoenix, news Nowitzki admittedly didn’t sit well with him.

“I was disappointed,” Nowitzki told MemphiSport following the Mavericks’ 101-94 win against the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night in American Airlines Center. “That was pretty obvious. We thought originally that Fin (Michael Finley), myself, and Steve would have a long run together. But Phoenix swooped in and gave him a heckuva deal.”

After an NBA career that spanned 17-plus seasons and was highlighted by eight All-Star appearances and two league MVP awards, Nash officially announced his retirement Tuesday afternoon.

HE SAID IT --- Said Nowitzki in Nash leaving Dallas for Phoenix: “I was disappointed,” Nowitzki told MemphiSport following the Mavericks’ 101-94 win against the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night in American Airlines Center. “That was pretty obvious. We thought originally that Fin (Michael Finley), myself, and Steve would have a long run together. But Phoenix swooped in and gave him a heckuva deal.”

HE SAID IT — Said Nowitzki on Nash leaving Dallas for Phoenix: “I was disappointed,” Nowitzki told MemphiSport following the Mavericks’ 101-94 win against the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night in American Airlines Center. “That was pretty obvious. We thought originally that Fin (Michael Finley), myself, and Steve would have a long run together. But Phoenix swooped in and gave him a heckuva deal.” (Photo by Glenn James/Getty Images)

Nash, 41, had been under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers for the past two-plus seasons before injuries ultimately reduced his effectiveness and forced him to call it a career. Prior to joining the Lakers, Nash spent eight seasons with Phoenix, where he enjoyed arguably his best moments as a pro.

Having joined a Suns team that inherited emerging young players Shawn Marion and Amar’e Stoudemire, Nash showed that even as a then-seven-year veteran, he was still very much in his prime. Nash had become only the third point guard (Magic Johnson and Bob Cousy) to capture consecutive league MVP awards (2005-2006) and the first Canadian to win the NBA’s most covenant individual award.

Ironically, Nash barely missed out on seizing a third consecutive MVP trophy, placing second with 44 first place votes, 39 shy of Nowitzki’s 83.

“Well, he was one of the greatest guards to ever play,” Nowitzki said of Nash. “He was an unbelievable competitor, as mentally tough as they get, as mentally tough as anyone I’ve seen in this league. He wanted the big shot. He wanted to be a part of the big games, played through injuries. He was just as tough as it gets and he was my friend.”

Unfortunately for Nash, a rash of injuries in recent years significantly limited his ability to perform efficiently, thus leading to him officially calling it a career.

RISING SUN --- Having joined a Suns team that inherited emerging young players Shawn Marion and Amar’e Stoudemire, Nash showed that even as a then-seven-year veteran, he was still very much in his prime. Nash had become only the third point (Magic Johnson and Bob Cousy) to capture consecutive league MVP awards (2005-2006) and the first Canadian born player to win the NBA’s most covenant individual award.

RISING SUN — Having joined a Suns team that inherited emerging young players Shawn Marion and Amar’e Stoudemire, Nash showed that even as a then-seven-year veteran, he was still very much in his prime. Nash had become only the third point (Magic Johnson and Bob Cousy) to capture consecutive league MVP awards (2005-2006) and the first Canadian born player to win the NBA’s most covenant individual award.

After sustaining a broken leg during his first season with the Lakers, Nash was never the same player again. Consequently, he endured neck, back, and muscle issues from which he never recovered.

Last summer, Nash announced that this season would be his last. However, after experiencing continuous back pains that have been hampering him since the preseason, Nash on March 21 formerly announced his retirement.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nash played at the University of Santa Clara before he was selected with the 15th overall pick by Phoenix in 1996.

A little more than a decade removed from having played with Nash, Nowitzki finally was able to put his and Nash’s careers into perspective.

“I was disappointed at the time,” Nowitzki said of Nash’s unceremonious departure from Dallas. “But you know, looking back at our careers, maybe it was better that way. We both flourished away from each other. But looking back, I’ll always have a smile on my face of the times we had together.”

To his credit, Nash’s unorthodox style of play inspired a number of other NBA point guard, most notably fellow international player Tony Parker of the Spurs.

“He was one of the best point guards in the history of the league,” Parker said. “He had a great mind for basketball. He was a great passer obviously and we’re definitely going to miss him. I’ve had some great battles against him when he was with the Phoenix Suns. I wish him luck in his next challenge in life. We’ve always been good friends and learned a lot just watching him play.”

DrePicAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Playing Hurt Podcast: Sweet 16 Preview

sweet 16Join Cerrito Live and HardBashin producer CJ Hurt and Sports 56 producer and WUMR Sports DESK host Drew Barrett as they take you on a sports odyssey full of twists, turns, and a good time during  Playing Hurt Podcast.
MemphiSport Live

 

OKC rival Memphis Grizzlies respond to Kevin Durant’s latest injury development

DALLAS — In three of their last four playoff appearances, the Memphis Grizzlies went to battle against the Oklahoma City Thunder, including the last two seasons.

THUNDER STORM WARNING --- If the Grizzlies wound up squaring off against the Oklahoma City Thunder for a third consecutive year in the postseason, the possibility exists that they will do so without facing Kevin Durant, the NBA’s reining MVP. That’s because Thunder general manager Sam Presti on Friday announced that Durant has been "removed from basketball activities" and could be shut down for the season. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

THUNDER STORM WARNING — If the Grizzlies wound up squaring off against the Oklahoma City Thunder for a third consecutive year in the postseason, the possibility exists that they will do so without facing Kevin Durant, the NBA’s reining MVP. That’s because Thunder general manager Sam Presti on Friday announced that Durant has been “removed from basketball activities” and could be shut down for the season. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

If the Grizzlies wound up squaring off against the Thunder for a third consecutive year in the postseason, the possibility exists that they will do so without facing the NBA’s reining MVP.

That’s because Thunder general manager Sam Presti on Friday announced that Durant has been “removed from basketball activities” and could be shut down for the season.

The news of Durant’s latest setback surrounding a right foot injury came as a shock to a Thunder team that is clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. According to team officials, Durant’s foot reportedly has caused him more pain after he underwent surgery Feb. 23.

Durant, who traveled with the team to Dallas for Monday’s outing and underwent treatment before that game, told MemphiSport.com, “I’m feeling better. I’ll be re-evaluated in a few days and will be ready to go soon.”

However, as early as Friday, Durant’s injury apparently had taken a turn for the worst, a development team officials believe will likely sideline the seven-year veteran for the remainder of the season.

That OKC will likely be without Durant, its best player, if it clinches a playoff berth for a sixth consecutive year came as a surprise to the Grizzlies, who have faced the Thunder in the postseason in three of the last four years. (Photo by Bill Waugh/Reuters)

That OKC will likely be without Durant, its best player, if it clinches a playoff berth for a sixth consecutive year came as a surprise to the Grizzlies, who have faced the Thunder in the postseason in three of the last four years. (Photo by Bill Waugh/Reuters)

“He’s not making the progress we’d hoped or expected,” Presti said.

That OKC will likely be without its best player if it clinches a playoff berth for a sixth consecutive year came as a surprise to the Grizzlies, who have faced the Thunder in the postseason in three of the last four years.

Memphis made its first Western Conference Finals appearance in franchise history in 2013 after eliminating the Thunder in five games. That year, the Thunder were without point guard Russell Westbrook, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in the playoffs’ opening round.

“I feel bad for him,” Grizzlies center Marc Gasol said of Durant’s injury following Friday morning’s shoot around in American Airlines Center. “Great player. Special guy. Special player. I got to know him a little bit during the All-Star weekend. But I feel bad for him. I know how much he loves the game and how much he wants to be out there. And I feel bad for him.”

Like Gasol, Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley said the news of Durant likely being shut down the rest of the year came as a shock, considering he had been hearing that Durant was recouping comfortably from the foot injury.

Since Durant underwent surgery last month in attempt to alleviate soreness and discomfort in his right foot that was being caused by a screw inserted in October during a procedure to repair a Jones fracture, Russell Westbrook has played arguably the best basketball of his seven-year career. Currently the NBA’s leading scorer, averaging 27.8 points per game, Westbrook has been nothing short of remarkable of late, having recorded a league-best nine triple doubles, his latest of which came in OKC’s 123–115 home win Friday night over Atlanta. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Since Durant underwent surgery last month in attempt to alleviate soreness and discomfort in his right foot that was being caused by a screw inserted in October during a procedure to repair a Jones fracture, Russell Westbrook has played arguably the best basketball of his seven-year career. Currently the NBA’s leading scorer, averaging 27.8 points per game, Westbrook has been nothing short of remarkable of late, having recorded a league-best nine triple doubles, his latest of which came in OKC’s 123–115 home win Friday night over Atlanta. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

“I have not heard about it. That’s news to me right now,” Conley said.

Since Durant underwent surgery last month in attempt to alleviate soreness and discomfort in his right foot that was being caused by a screw inserted in October during a procedure to repair a Jones fracture, Westbrook has played arguably the best basketball of his seven-year career.

Currently the NBA’s leading scorer, averaging 27.8 points per game, Westbrook has been nothing short of remarkable of late, having recorded a league-best nine triple doubles, his latest of which came in OKC’s 123–115 home win Friday night over the Atlanta Hawks (36 points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds).

So resilient Westbrook has been after what was an injury-ridden season last year for the former UCLA star that he has emerged as a legitimate candidate for league’s Most Valuable Player.

However, earlier this week, Westbrook reiterated that individual accolades are the least of his concerns, especially considering the Thunder are battling for their playoff lives during the season’s stretch run. At 39-30, OKC owns a two-game lead over ninth-place New Orleans for the pivotal eighth spot in the West.

“I don’t know,” said Westbrook, when asked if he’s playing the best basketball of his career. I take it one day at a time, man, and keep doing what I’m doing. I have no take (on the MVP race). My job is to come out and play at a high level every single night.”

But whether Westbrook and Co. will have Durant back for what figures to be an intense postseason in the always rugged Western Conference remains unclear.

As of Friday, team officials hinted that a Thunder playoff run this year likely will take place without arguably their best player.

“You know, it sucks to have any kind of injury,” Conley said. “And the situation (Durant) is going through, I know he wants to be back on the court. So that’s tough for him and the organization. But I’m sure they’re doing whatever’s best for him and the team.”

DrePicAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Throwback Thursday: Happy Birthday, Lance Russell

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Photo courtesy of Lance Russell’s Facebook.

Earlier this week, legendary Memphis Wrestling broadcaster Lance Russell celebrated his 89th Birthday.  From all of us at MemphiSport.com, we would like to wish Lance a very Happy Birthday with many more to come!

To help celebrate Lance’s Birthday, I’d like to take a look back at one of my personal favorite clips of Lancer himself.  This video is not only a Memphis Wrestling Classic, but it is an extremely rare find.

This week’s Throwback Thursday clip features Lance Russell like you’ve never seen him before.  Enjoy!

Lance is always golden – even when the roles are reversed.  Don’t forget to stop by Lance’s official Facebook page to send your Birthday wishes.  Big thanks to our friend Eddie for sharing this footage on Twitter.

ICYMI: Lance Russell joined MSL last year for one full hour to discuss classic Memphis Wrestling, his nickname “Banana Nose”, Mid-South Coliseum and so much more.  To listen in full, please click here.

Don’t Forget:  Memphis Wildfire Wrestling returns on April 23rd!  Catch all the action at Woodland Hills Country Club in Cordova, TN.  For the latest info, click here.

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and Cerrito Live. Follow him @DustinStarr.

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Playing Hurt Podcast: Who Will Win March Madness?

2015FinalFourLogo

Join Cerrito Live and HardBashin producer CJ Hurt and Sports 56 producer and WUMR Sports DESK host Drew Barrett as they take you on a sports odyssey full of twists, turns, and a good time during  Playing Hurt Podcast.
MemphiSport Live

Throwback Thursday: Reggie B. Fine puts his gold on the line

Memphis Wrestling has always been a little different.  Memphis was the first territory to have theme music for their wrestler’s entrances.  The wrestling style was even different than anywhere else.

Need proof?  Just watch this week’s clip.

I dug deep into the archives and found a funny one from 1991.  Reggie B. Fine wants a Championship match so bad, he put his gold on the line.  But not the gold you might be thinking of…

Reggie B. Fine is pure comedy gold.  He has always been one of my favorite Memphis Wrestling characters.  As usual, The King prevails against another pesky manager.

Just Announced:  Memphis Wildfire Wrestling returns on April 23rd!  Catch all the action at Woodland Hills Country Club in Cordova, TN.  For the latest info, click here.

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.

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Throwback Thursday: Monday Night Memories

10968317_1093694733989508_1651779670478370210_nI could tell you a million reasons why we should save the Mid-South Coliseum.  But instead, I’ll show you.

Today, let’s throw it back to a very special music video performed by none other than “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart.  The tribute aired on USWA television to promote a big event at the “Entertainment Capital of the Mid-South”.

Take a look:

Memphians all over the city want to save the Mid-South Coliseum for various reasons.  Us wrestling fans – we want it turned into a Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame.  For more information, be sure to LIKE us on Facebook.  Kevin Cerrito toured the Coliseum and shared the photos, earlier this week.  Meetings are in progress and an official website has been launched at ProWrestlingHOF.com.

Share you thoughts and memories with us @MemphiSport and @DustinStarr.

Homepage photo courtesy of CJ Hurt.

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.

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Cal prep hoopster Ramia Griffin could be ideal fit for U of M, other mid-major colleges

Just recently, Njeri Griffin went on and on about how enthused she is to be an avid basketball mom.

CALIFORNIA LOVE --- To her credit, Bradshaw Christian School's Ramia Griffin’s solid contributions are amongst the reasons Bradshaw Christian took a season-best six-game winning streak into Wednesday night’s game against West Campus. For starters, this speedy junior guard has proven to be consistent on both ends of the floor. According to Maxpreps.com, the 5-foot-7 Ramia Griffins has appeared in 26 of The Pride’s 29 games, averaging 6.2 points, one assist, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.6 steals and two blocks. (Photos submitted by N. Griffin)

CALIFORNIA LOVE — To her credit, Bradshaw Christian School’s Ramia Griffin’s solid contributions are amongst the reasons Bradshaw Christian took a season-best six-game winning streak into Wednesday night’s game against West Campus. For starters, this speedy junior guard has proven to be consistent on both ends of the floor. According to Maxpreps.com, the 5-foot-7 Ramia Griffins has appeared in 26 of The Pride’s 29 games, averaging 6.2 points, one assist, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.6 steals and two blocks. (Photos submitted by N. Griffin)

The mother of Bradshaw Christian School combo guard Ramia Griffin, Njeri Griffin would be the first to tell you that preparing to watch her daughter in action isn’t just a common routine, but an adventure, of sorts.

“I get up, make breakfast, give a little pep talk and send her off with love,” Njeri Griffin said during a recent interview from Sacramento, California. “Her team travels together on a van. Then when I get to the games, I’m cheering the loudest…sometimes I even bring my pom poms and signs.”

Because Ramia often has a full basketball slate, considering she plays for both her school and on the AAU circuit, her mother occasionally finds herself commuting from various gyms throughout the Sacramento area to show support for her daughter, a rising prep standout who, given her immense strides in recent years, appears destined to put her skills on display at the collegiate level.

Ramia Griffin is the catalyst of a Bradshaw Christian team that is currently staging an impressive postseason run in California’s CIF Sac-Joaquin Section. The No. 2 seed Pride faced third-seeded West Campus in Wednesday night’s semifinals with the winner advancing to the Section championship Saturday at 11:30 a.m. PST at Sleep Train Arena against the winner of No. 1-seed Brookside versus No. 4-seed Dixon.

To her credit, Ramia Griffin’s solid contributions are amongst the reasons Bradshaw Christian took a season-best six-game winning streak into Wednesday night’s game against West Campus. For starters, this speedy junior guard has proven to be consistent on both ends of the floor. According to Maxpreps.com, the 5-foot-7 Ramia Griffins has appeared in 26 of The Pride’s 29 games, averaging 6.2 points, one assist, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.6 steals and two blocks for a Bradshaw Christian squad that ran the table in Sierra Delta League play (12-0).

Add to the fact that this multi-purpose player has demonstrated the ability to be a game changer time and again throughout her prep career, and it’s no wonder the possibility exists that college scouts and recruiters will commence to inquiring her services as early as before what figures to be an intriguing senior campaign next year.

Because of her size, assertiveness, and solid frame, Ramia undoubtedly has the tools to be a suitable fit for a mid-major college program.

“I would cry with overwhelming joy of something I have dreamed and prayed about for years,” said Ramia, explaining how happy would you be if she is offered a chance to play at the collegiate level.

DREAM CHASING --- Add to the fact that this multi-purpose player has demonstrated the ability to be a game changer time and again throughout her prep career, and it’s no wonder the possibility exists that college scouts and recruiters will commence to inquiring her services as early as before what figures to be an intriguing senior campaign next year.  “I would cry with overwhelming joy of something I have dreamed and prayed about for years,” said Ramia, explaining how happy would you be if she is offered a chance to play at the collegiate level.

DREAM CHASING — Add to the fact that this multi-purpose player has demonstrated the ability to be a game changer time and again throughout her prep career, and it’s no wonder the possibility exists that college scouts and recruiters will commence to inquiring her services as early as before what figures to be an intriguing senior campaign next year.
“I would cry with overwhelming joy of something I have dreamed and prayed about for years,” said Ramia, explaining how happy would you be if she is offered a chance to play at the collegiate level.

If, in fact, her dream of playing at the college ball comes to fruition, without question she will have arguably her grandest supporter to thank.

“My mom is my No. 1 fan and I can’t fathom enough how much she has sacrificed for me to make my dream a reality,” Ramia said. “My favorite advice from my mom is that she always encourages me to do my best and to work hard on the court and to encourage my teammates, but I love everything my coaches tell me because it sets me up to be successful.”

As The Pride continues what has been a dramatic postseason run, amongst Ramia’s objectives, particularly in the offseason is continue to upgrade her mechanics at the guard position and keep a positive frame of mind — regardless of how insurmountable challenges become on and off the court.

“I’m so proud of my daughter,” said Njeri, assessing her daughter’s success on and off the court. “Not only for what she does on the court, but also off the court. She is strong; she plays hard, gives 100 percent, encourages her teammates, and listens to her coaches.”

What Njeri deems mostly impressive is that her daughter has proven to be a fixture in the community, particularly as it relates to showing respect for authoritative figures, a key attribute scouts are almost certain to find attractive during the always intense recruiting process.

“I am so proud of her off the court too because people always tell me about how nice, respectful and polite she is,” Njeri said. “Parents and coaches always pull me to the side and say, ‘You have a wonderful daughter who is always so positive, always smiles, always says hi, always so sweet.’ I love hearing that as a parent.”

Not to mention, as a devoted basketball mom.

DreColumnAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Quincy Pondexter on recent trade from Memphis Grizzlies: ‘I’ll never forget it’

NBA SOUTHWEST DIVISION REPORT

DALLAS — Quincy Pondexter on Monday was asked if he has any hard feelings toward the Memphis Grizzlies after the organization dealt him to the New Orleans Pelicans in early January.

CALLING HIM OUT? When asked on Monday night's game at Dallas whom he sensed were among those within the Grizzlies organization who felt it was best to part ways with him, New Orleans Pelicans shooting guard Quincy Pondexter went as far as to hint that Memphis coach Dave Joerger initiated the trade.  “That’s the way it seems, right?” Pondexter said. (Photos by Steve Mitchell/Getty Images NBAE)

CALLING HIM OUT? When asked on Monday night’s game at Dallas whom he sensed were among those within the Grizzlies organization who felt it was best to part ways with him, New Orleans Pelicans shooting guard Quincy Pondexter went as far as to hint that Memphis coach Dave Joerger initiated the trade.
“That’s the way it seems, right?” Pondexter said. (Photos by Steve Mitchell/Getty Images NBAE)

“I can’t answer that,” Pondexter told MemphiSport.com prior to the Pelicans’ game at the Dallas Mavericks.

Given his unorthodox body language as he sat in front of his locker in the visitors’ locker room in American Airlines Center, coupled with the notion that Pondexter admittedly anticipated a lengthy tenure with a Memphis team that boasts NBA championship aspirations, it’s safe to assume that the recently-acquired New Orleans small forward is indeed harboring ill-feelings over how his stint with the Grizzlies ended.

Now in his fourth NBA seasons, the 26-year-old Pondexter appeared in 168 games for the Grizzlies before he was involved in a three-team trade on January 12. The Pelicans announced that they traded guard Austin Rivers to the Boston Celtics and rookie Russ Smith to the Grizzlies in exchange for Pondexter and a future second round pick.

The move reunited Pondexter with the team to which he was traded moments after he was drafted 26th overall by Oklahoma City in 2010.

“It was extremely hurtful,” Pondexter said of the Grizzlies electing to trade him before the season’s halfway point. “You know, it’s somewhere I thought would be home for me. But it’s a couple of people in the organization who didn’t feel the same way and I’ll never forget it.”

When asked whom he sensed were among those within the Grizzlies organization who felt it was best to part ways with him, Pondexter went as far as to hint that Memphis coach Dave Joerger initiated the trade.

“That’s the way it seems, right?” Pondexter said.

Surely, Pondexter and Joerger have had their share of disagreements, most notably last year during a Grizzlies home game against the Brooklyn Nets.

A game in which Pondexter was seen staring down Joerger several times after making a number of key second-half shots before finishing with 22 points, Pondexter was ultimately disciplined for his unprofessional gestures. During timeouts, Pondexter could be seen uttering profanity as a way of showing his displeasure with Joerger’s decision to bench him.

Having recently been installed as a starter for a Pelicans, who trail Oklahoma City by just one game for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, Pondexter has wasted little time making his presence felt. Arguably his best outing since being dealt to New Orleans came February 25 against visiting Brooklyn during which he scored a career-high 25 points.

Having recently been installed as a starter for a Pelicans, who trail Oklahoma City by just one game for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, Pondexter (left) has wasted little time making his presence felt alongside star center Anthony Davis. Arguably his best outing since being dealt to New Orleans came February 25 against visiting Brooklyn during which he scored a career-high 25 points.

Prior to that game, Pondexter had played sparingly for the Grizzlies, averaging 18 minutes during what was an injured-ridden season for the former University of Washington star.

Pondexter on Monday reiterated that he has taken ownership of the situation and subsequent fallout with Joerger, saying he’s sorry for such behavior he believes contributed to his recent trade from Memphis.

“You know, I’ll never forget that night,” Pondexter said. “I made a bad decision. I was immature at the time. I’ll never forget the mistake I made, staring him down and showing him up. I felt like I should have been playing. But at the end of the day, he had the last say and I’m not there anymore.”

While Pondexter believes Joerger is mainly responsible for his unceremonious exit out of Memphis, he sensed there were others within the organization who sided with his former coach.

“There was a couple who probably didn’t want me there,” Pondexter said. “And I wanted to end my career there. That’s how much I love the city.”

CHANGE OF HEART --- For a while, it seemed that Pondexter was a right fit for the Grizzlies, who rewarded the Fresno, California native with a four-year extension in just third full season with the team. Prior to that year, Pondexter averaged a career-best 21.1 minutes per game and played a pivotal role for a Grizz team that made its first ever Western Conference Finals appearance. (Getty Images photo)

CHANGE OF HEART — For a while, it seemed that Pondexter was a right fit for the Grizzlies, who rewarded the Fresno, California native with a four-year extension in just third full season with the team. Prior to that year, Pondexter averaged a career-best 21.1 minutes per game and played a pivotal role for a Grizz team that made its first ever Western Conference Finals appearance. (Getty Images photo)

For a while, it seemed that Pondexter was a right fit for the Grizzlies, who rewarded the Fresno, California native with a four-year extension in just his third full season with the team. Prior to that year, Pondexter averaged a career-best 21.1 minutes per game and played a pivotal role for a Grizz team that made its first ever Western Conference Finals appearance.

“I signed a four-year extension because I loved (Memphis) so much,” Pondexter said. “It was painful at first. But, of course, you know you live and learn and I’ve got another opportunity here.”

To his credit, though, it’s an opportunity of which Pondexter has taken full advantage much like his stint in Memphis.

Having recently been installed as a starter for the Pelicans, who trail Oklahoma City by just one game for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, Pondexter has wasted little time making his presence felt.

Arguably his best outing since being dealt to New Orleans came February 25 against visiting Brooklyn during which he scored a career-high 25 points.

“He could be a two-way player where he could defend his position and other positions,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said of Pondexter. “He’s shown the ability on certain nights where he could knock down shots and make plays for us. He has shown intangibles, whether it be just know how to guard a guy, using his length to guard or contest shots, and knowing how to guard. But he’s been in a lot of big games in Memphis, so that’s something I can’t give him. He has that experience.”

Among the things about which Pondexter is appreciative are the Pelicans offering him the chance to continue what he started in Memphis. Now that he’s becoming acclimated in New Orleans, he contends his unceremonious departure from Memphis is where it belongs.

Behind him.

“I’m happy here,” Pondexter said.

Fielding the question as if he expected it.

DrePicAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.