The Grizzlies have been in this situation before. It’s the middle of March and the team is battling for a playoff spot. This time last year they faded down the stretch, narrowly missing the playoffs.
This year, the team is one year more experienced with new and old weapons added to their arsenal. Now, is the time to jump back on the bandwagon and be a part of Grizz Country at FedExForum.
Here are 5 reason you should go see the Grizzlies live in person:
5) It’s a Great Deal
The Grizzlies promotion staff does a pretty good job in keeping ticket prices fair and reasonable compared to the other teams around the NBA. Plus there are tickets available to every game, which is not the case for all NBA teams.
Sure, the usual complaints will come, “well parking is too much” (which is true), and “the food is too much.”
Go eat dinner beforehand at one of the restaurants downtown, or eat something at home before you go. So, if you do get hungry, just get a snack like popcorn or candy instead of something like barbecue nachos.
There is some type of promotion every night, some in game, like the “FedEx Delivery of the game”, or pre-game giveaways to the first 5,000 fans like “Bobble-Head Night” or “Poster Night.”
Another thing that is done to make tickets affordable is the choices of packs or deals that you can buy.
The price shouldn’t be the thing that keeps you from coming to the game.
4) Fans of Opposing Teams Have No Trouble Showing Up
It seems that when the big name teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics come to town, the crowd at the FedExForum isn’t as pro-Grizzlies as the crowd is when the team is playing other teams around the NBA. It has been this way ever since the Grizzlies moved here from Vancouver.
It is time for that to change. There is not another team in the state, or for that matter within three hundred miles of the city, so you can’t claim local allegiance to any other team either, unless you are actually from that city.
We’ve heard the excuse, that “Oh, I was a (insert NBA team) fan before the Grizzlies came here.” Well it has been ten years and chances are, the franchise that you were a fan of ten years ago, has different players on the team then they had when the team moved here. I’m not saying that if you really have been a die-hard fan of a team for 30 or so years that you should change allegiances now, but at least support your home town when they play every other team and come to cheer them on, not just come to the Forum once a year to cheer “your team” on.
The Grizzlies feed off the crowd, and that was very evident this past Wednesday in the game against the New York Knicks. The crowd was into it from the pre-game introductions in which Carmelo Anthony was heavily booed, all the way to the final buzzer. Unfortunately, Carmelo had the last laugh as he hit the game winner with 0.5 seconds left on the clock. Memphis was down by 17 points at one point in the third quarter and as they battled their way back into the game, the crowd got louder and louder for the Grizzlies.
Bring your kids to the games too, as now is the time they start choosing teams and who to root for, and who better than the home town team. I am sure that most kids are brought up to root for the Tigers, why not the Grizzlies too?
3) It’s a Great Place to Compare Your Playoff Beard with other Fans
Grizzlies games have become the Mid-South’s largest gathering of bearded people ever since the team started growing “Playoff Beards” and encouraging the rest of the fan base to do the same. Is your beard as good as Rob Fischer’s or the ones in the Pepsi Super Fan Section?
2) This Team is Fun to Root For
You don’t have to take my word for it, they do have other media outlets(ESPN and SI) talking about the Grizzlies in a positive light for the first time in a long time. This team is on a roll and fun to watch.
Being one of the hottest teams in the league has gotten the league buzzing about the Grizzlies and none of the teams they play are taking them lightly and their recent run has them right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. They have done a good portion of this run without their franchise player Rudy Gay. Now, you can argue that Zach Randolph is the franchise player, but that is an argument for another day.
Bringing in old faces like Shane Battier and Jason Williams also should bring in some fans that the franchise has lost over the past few years in which questionable front office decisions were made such as the Pau trade and a flurry of under performing draft picks. Those two are arguably two of the most appreciated and well liked players this franchise has ever had. Maybe these two guys are a little older and not as quick as they once were, but they bring experience and familiarity to this franchise.
As for the rest of the team, Z-Bo and Tony Allen embrace the city and take on the “hard working, we get no respect” attitude that this city loves to embrace. Whether Tony Allen is going loco on the bench waving his towel or Z-Bo is taking off his head band, the crowd loves it when those two guys get going and those guys feed off the energy of the crowd as well. It also seems that as the season has progressed the rest of the team has taken on that attitude and being on the same page has definitely turned this team into a dangerous team to watch and one that nobody wants to see in the first round of the playoffs.
1) Ownership is Finally Serious About Winning
Many of the common complaints on why people don’t go to the games or down to FedExForum to watch the Grizzlies have been addressed so far. The main one though is the fact that some fans felt the Grizzlies weren’t putting a winner on the floor or were even trying to be competitive.
They missed the playoffs last year, but made vast improvements in every facet of the game and increased their win total by eleven games. That set up this year, the final year of Heisley’s “three year plan” in which he pledged a playoff berth for this franchise. In this three year plan, the development of Hasheem Thabeet was one of the main priorities in order for this team to become a contender. Well, that plan fell through, but in trading Thabeet (with DeMarre Carroll and a first-rounder) to Houston for fan favorite and defensive stopper Shane Battier (and Ish Smith), Heisley basically admitted making a mistake in drafting Thabeet and wants to win now!
Maybe the Rudy Gay injury played a part in making this deal happen, but that rumor was swirling well before the injury occurred. Heisley knew that if the Grizzlies were to get to the playoffs and make some noise, that move had to be made.
Heisley is not a man that admits many mistakes and he also does not like to give up on something he had so much riding on, but he did.
Now, it is your turn to buy into the Grizzlies making a run at the playoffs because everyone else is pitching in and buying in to this team.
Do what you can to make this town a Grizzlies town and give the team a unique environment for opposing teams to come into and fear the beard.
Ben Hogan is a regular contributor to Memphisport. You can follow him on Twitter @notthegolfer. For more live tweets during Grizzlies games follow @memphisport, @douggillon, @cerrito, and @chasingphoto.
Story photo by Chase Gustafson.