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HubieAs the 10th anniversary tour is coming to a close, hopefully to a close with an encore ending in the playoffs, we have heard about the top Ten players in Memphis Grizzlies history, the top ten finishes and the top ten games.

We aren’t going to rehash those moments.
What we will write about is something the team would probably rather forget. The top 10 strangest stories for the Memphis Grizzlies…so far of course.
So here they are according to our crack writing staff.

10) The Return of Batman and JWill
– Some people may have listed the trades of Shane to Houston and JWill to Miami on the list of the team’s strangest moves but no one can argue the return of both fan favorites within weeks of each other this season as strange. Both players were vital members of the team during their playoff years (JWill for the first two and Shane for all three) and to have both of them return for the 4th playoff race is too weird for words.
Not that this is a bad thing. Both players have contributed in their own ways to this year’s run. It’s just weird that they returned.
9) Brian Cardinal’s Free Agent Signing
– The Custodian receiving a huge offer in itself was strange and could have made the honorable mention list by itself but the story breaking a few years later about the way the offer was made moved the deal into the top 10 list. For those that haven’t heard or don’t remember, the story goes that Jerry West was sitting in his office when Owner Mike Heisley barged in wanting to know what Jerry West was planning on doing to improve the team. West, who will be mentioned later in this list as well, promptly picked up the phone and called Cardinal’s agent and offered him the huge contract.
No one is sure how true the story is but just the insinuation that West would react this way warrants this place in the rankings. If we knew it actually happened it would be higher up on the list.
8) Male Dance Team Members
– Every NBA team has a dance squad. Nearly every NFL team has a dance team too. Not one team but Memphis ever experimented with male dance team members. The sad thing was they weren’t as bad as some of the female dancers. The four guys didn’t last for too long but the fact that they were ever allowed on the team in the first place in the south was too strange. Maybe San Francisco could get away with male dance team members but in Memphis they were never accepted.
7) You Ain’t Gonna Write Nothin Homeboy
– Honestly, no one could blame Jason Williams for saying that to Geoff Calkins. The previous day Calkins wrote a particularly disparaging column claiming JWill didn’t care about the Grizzlies winning playoff games. The quote that upset Williams was “I’m happy. I go home and see my kids and my wife and I’m OK. All of this other [stuff] is secondary to me.” Taken out of context it could sound like JWill didn’t care about winning but in fact it just showed that JWill cares more about his family than his career. Who, besides Geoff Calkins I suppose, can fault a man for that?
JWill came up to Calkins after the final playoff game and took Calkins pen claiming he wasn’t going to allow Calkins to write anything. Well that’s what he meant anyway. Possibly the strangest reaction to an editorial in history although I am sure it wasn’t the first time it crossed someone’s mind.
6) Jerry West Storms Out of Draft War Room
– I told you we’d be back to Jerry West. Anytime a GM leaves the War Room on draft night it is strange. Leaving right before the team makes their first round draft pick is downright weird. Storming out because you are upset that Boston Celtics drafted Gerald Green with the pick in front of the Grizzlies pick is beyond strange.
West’s departure left Assistant GM Tom Penn to make the pick. Penn did a good job drafting Hakim Warrick who, while never able to become a full-time starter in the NBA, has had a far better career than Green who bounced around a few teams in the league before plying his trade overseas. Currently Green is playing in Russia. Jerry West has retired and most recently was seen at the unveiling of a statue of him in front of the Staples Center in LA. No statues are planned in Memphis.
5) DunkyLand
– I don’t know who thought up the idea, pitched the idea to the Grizzlies or who on the Grizzlies thought it sounded like a good idea but DunkyLand was failure from the beginning. “Tell Your Kids They’re Going to Dunkyland” was a testament to how low the franchise had fallen more than a sign of exciting things to come.
The failed slogan beat out the Say No to the NBA campaign spearheaded by Duncan Ragsdale. Now in his defense Ragsdale wasn’t against the NBA per se. He was just against the FedEx Forum being built which was the only way the team would move to Memphis. The Forum has been a fabulous addition to downtown Memphis and draws major acts that used to pass up the city in favor of other cities.
4) The Davis-Laettner Press Conference
– People questioned right off the bat if Davis and Laettner had the money to buy the Grizzlies but that sort of thing can happen. What was strange was Brian Davis’ assertion that Co-Owner Christian Laettner would be joining the team. Not as a coach mind you but as a player! Laettner’s career had been less than average and he hadn’t played since the 2004-5 season. To think he could buy a team and force the team to accept him as a player on the team was so laughable that the media present at the conference actually had to laugh out loud. A big no-no for professional journalists but who could blame them?
3) Bonzi Wells Banned from FedEx Forum
– Okay, honestly it isn’t good to tear apart your locker after not being allowed to play in a playoff game. Some form of discipline needs to be held even during the playoffs but it was so strange to read that Bonzi Wells, who’s arrival coincided with the Grizzlies becoming respectable for the first time, being banished from the building in the playoffs against Phoenix was weird. Bonzi and Coach Mike Fratello had feuded almost from the start but Wells was an experienced playoff performer and the Grizzlies needed him if they wanted to at least win one game in the playoffs.
Bonzi eventually did return to FedEx Forum but as a member of the Houston Rockets. The Grizzlies have yet to win a playoff game.
2) Hubie Brown Resigns on Thanksgiving
– Hubie Brown was the reigning NBA Coach of the Year. He had just taken a franchise that had never won more than 28 games in a season to 50 wins and their first playoff series. On Thanksgiving Day (November 25, 2004) he boarded the team plane as they prepared to travel to Seattle and announced he was resigning due to “unexpected health-related issues.” Apparently he recovered enough to accept a job with ABC to broadcast NBA games a week later. The rumor was that Hubie could no longer tolerate the attitude of certain players and what he perceived to be a lack of support from upper management. The story had some added validity as it had earlier been reported that Hubie Brown had demanded the three players (Jason Williams, Bonzi Wells and James Posey) be traded during training camp.
Then again the stress of the job overall could have been bothering Hubie. He’s also clted as the top strangest strory in Grizzlies history…
1) Hubie Brown vs Yusuf Boyd
You may not know who Yusuf Boyd is but if there was ever a stranger story to come from the Memphis Grizzlies it escapes me (or my mind gratefully blocked it out). Yusuf Boyd was the assistant trainer/equipment manager for the Grizzlies for more than three seasons before finally leaving the team to open his own fitness business in Germantown, TN.
Hubie Brown became convinced that Boyd was actually a spy for none other than Jerry West, the Grizzlies President of basketball operations and General Manager. Now why would the team’s GM have to spy on the head coach? Brown demanded that Boyd be fired for insubordination. Not only did West not fire Boyd but he refused to make him leave the bench during games.
Some of the stories that just missed the list included Hasheem Thabeet, The removal of all Pau Gasol photos and memorabilia after the trade to the Lakers, Hubie Brown demanding the trade of JWill, Bonzi and Posey during training camp after the 50 win season, West chastising the team for laughing the day after their playoff sweep at the hands of the Spurs and the story of just about every coach ever hired by the Grizzlies.
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