The 2013-2014 Memphis Grizzlies, of Greater Memphis, a perennial civic fixation for many Mid-South citizens, passed away on Saturday night in Oklahoma City, May 3, 2014. Born October 30, 2013, in San Antonio, the Griz split time between their home at 191 South Beale Street, where their semi-weekly variety shows were always well-attended, and a variety of national destinations where they were received with mixed reviews and, at times, outright hostility. They were 89 games old.
The ‘13-‘14 Griz are survived by Grindfather Tony Allen, as well as owner Robert Pera, CEO Jason Levien, rookie head coach Dave Joerger, and many close relatives, including primary guardians Marc Gasol and Mike Conley; helping hands Tayshaun Prince, Courtney Lee, Quincy Pondexter, Jon Leuer, and Jamaal Franklin; short-term entertainers Jerryd Bayless, now of Boston, Seth Curry, now of Santa Cruz, California, and Darius Morris, now of Hidalgo, Texas; and more than 685,000 friends and neighbors who believed in the Griz with varying degrees of confidence at different times during the season.
The passing of the ‘13-‘14 Griz leaves many questions behind, most notably in the potential (though unlikely) dissolution of a financial relationship with long-time contributor Zach Randolph, but also regarding non-guaranteed promises made to newcomers Kousta Koufos and Nick Calathes, and undefined roles and contracts for James Johnson, Beno Udrih, Mike Miller, and Ed Davis.
In their brief and beleaguered life, the ‘13-‘14 Griz were members of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association, winning 65% of their regular season matchups at FedExForum and 50 games overall to earn a No. 7 playoff seed. The Griz made the post-season despite the following hardships:
*59 combined games missed by their three best defenders
*Being the only team with fewer than five three-pointers per game
*Being the only team with fewer than 15 free-throws made per game
*Having a first-year head coach with no NBA coaching experience
*Not placing any of their players on the NBA All-Star Game roster
In lieu of flowers, Pera and Levien ask concerned and well-meaning parties to please donate funding to the franchise in the form of season ticket package purchases, official Griz merchandise, and overpriced ForumFood. Checks can also be made out to the organization in any amount, so long as they are paid to the order of “2014 Round 1 Draft Pick” and earmarked with a “Signing Bonus Contribution” notation. (No, it’s alright–you can keep the towels.)