It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s not because of the eggnog, mistletoe, or Christmas fever.
No, for us Grizzlies fans, it is the impending return of the Los Angeles Floppers- er, I mean Clippers- to the Grindhouse. If you just got a bitter taste in your mouth upon reading that name, don’t worry! It’s completely natural.
For obvious reasons, being a Grizzlies fan and hating the Clippers is a 2-in-1 package. Nothing gets a Grizz fan more hyped than putting on a ‘Whoop that Clip’ T-shirt and heading down to the forum for a long night of chanting “flopper” and “ref you suck”. Witnessing ZBo man-handle Blake Griffin is always entertaining. Of course, Chris Paul’s Oscar-winning acting performances will make you think you are watching a sad soap opera more than a basketball game; however, you know when they come to town that the Grindhouse will be rocking.
What is the one underlying reason for the rivalry? The answer is relatively simple: the Clippers are the polar opposite of the Grizzlies.
The foundation of the Grizzlies has been built on mental toughness and physical play. The Grizzlies did not have the luxury of being in a large market, having a superstar PG assigned to the team by the commissioner of the league, or having the lottery balls bounce in their favor.
On the contrary, the Clippers are flashy with superstars, dunkers, and glamour. While the Grizzlies had to work every step of the way to get to where they are now, the Clippers had everything more-or-less handed to them thanks to being in a large market and having a lot of money. This is the basis from where the two teams have grown to be rivals. It doesn’t hurt they’ve played two fierce playoffs series in back to back years.
Chris Paul intentionally running into Gasol’s torn abdomen in the Playoffs probably didn’t help the relationship much either.
It’s certain though, if you want to see some contentious basketball games, it is these two teams you want to watch.
Between the rivals, the two players that hold the very essence of what the rivalry stands for is most certainly ZBo and Griffin. You know these two have a long and bitter history with each other. When Zach absolutely brutalized Blake Griffin – by this I mean threw to the ground and then tried to strangle him – only a double foul was called. Even the refs understand there is a lot of bad blood between these players.
There could be a clear reason to why Zack dislikes Griffin to the extent that he does. The Clippers traded Zach to obtain Griffin. Or, maybe he just has a hatred for “gingers.” They’re supposedly soulless anyways, right?
You have to wonder what Blake Griffin thinks before he steps out onto the floor with Zach. I imagine he sits in the back of the locker room before a Grizzlies game, and silently cries to himself due to the realization that Zach is going to make Blake his toy for the night. It almost makes me feel bad for him.
Apart from Griffin, CP3 is another example to why Grizzlies fans react to the Clippers the way they do. Simply type in Chris Paul into your YouTube Search Bar. Immediately, hundreds, if not thousands, of flopping videos starring Chris Paul will appear for your amusement. Not only does Chris Paul’s flopping cause the Grizzlies fans to be irate, but he also endangers our players’ health! As mentioned above, he blatantly shoved Gasol directly in his injured abdomen during game 6 of the playoffs.
In the most recent incident, he ran into Tony Allen’s raised leg with his face, and consequently hurt Tony’s shin for a few seconds. However, Paul did provide us with a great gif by that because if anything could explain the Clippers’ and Grizzlies’ relationship- this would be it.
Being a die-hard Grizzlies fan, you can always tell when the Clippers’ arrival is drawing near. First, you may find yourself throwing the remote at your TV every time a Cliff Paul commercial comes on. Then you’ll start re-watching the “Tony Allen kicks Chris Paul in the face” video over and over. You know they’re close when you suddenly have an undeniable hatred for any Kia Optima.
By this point, you should probably buy your tickets – if you have not already done so.
With the Clippers here, it is time for all fans to make a return back to the Grindhouse. Go ahead and start practicing your loud booing. Prepare yourself, because even with the way the Grizzlies team and fans feel about them, they are still an ultimate competitor. They’ll be back for revenge, and we will be back for more.
Let’s whoop those Clips.
This is a guest blog from Antonia Bufalino. Antonia is a passionate Grizzlies fan and a high school senior looking to major in broadcast journalism in college next year.