Your Guide To The Memphis Hustle
Ed. Note. There’s a new basketball team in town, and they’re called the Memphis Hustle. Opening weekend is THIS weekend, so get excited! I know I got pumped after reading contributor Austin Crowder’s handy guide to the G League team’s inaugural season.
One thing I appreciate most about Memphis is that it isn’t trying to be any other place. Sure, Memphis wants to evolve and improve, but it doesn’t want to be Nashville or San Francisco. Memphis takes each opportunity it gets to claim its own identity.
Enter the Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies new locally-based NBA G League affiliate team.
Not sure what that means? I gotchu.
In Mississippi we flow.
In Memphis we ball.
And together we hustle.
Here’s the first look at our new uniforms for our inaugural season 😍🔥 pic.twitter.com/7bz3HiaJBu
— Memphis Hustle (@MemphisHustle) October 16, 2017
— Memphis Hustle (@MemphisHustle) October 4, 2017
The G League for Newbies
The NBA signed a partnership with Gatorade, rebranding what was known as the NBA Development League (NBA D-League) into the G League.
NBA teams use their G league affiliate to prepare players, coaches, and other personnel for when they are needed. The Grizzlies have heavily relied on this training ground for current players: James Ennis, Jarell Martin, Wayne Selden, JaMychal Green, Deyonta Davis and others.
This season, NBA teams are allowed two additional roster spots for two-way contracts. These contracts give the Grizz exclusive rights to a G League player who is allowed to play with the Grizzlies for up to 45 days per season.
TL;DR: Roughly… Memphis Redbirds are to St. Louis Cardinals as Memphis Hustle are to Memphis Grizzlies.
Why this is an AWESOME addition to Memphis
1. Having the Memphis Hustle will make the Memphis Grizzlies better!
The Grizzlies’ coaching staff can better scout and develop prospects and current players. For instance, the Hustle will practice at the same FedExForum training facility as the Grizzlies. Now, when players are “called-up” from the Hustle to the Grizz in a pinch, it can be seamless, without hours of bus travel fatigue.
2. G League play is fast paced, gritty, and passionate.
Players earn between $13,000 and $26,000 for an entire G League season while just one call up to an NBA team for ten days could be up to a $136,000 pay out. Suffice to say, these players grit and grind. To Memphis’ NCAA basketball fans, you may have found your professional basketball fix.
3. The Hustle provides closer access to professional basketball than the Grizzlies.
Close-up tickets will be cheaper and access to players, personnel, and an authentic, personal basketball experience will be easier. This includes the chance to closely watch Kobi Simmons and Vince Hunter, both currently on two-way contracts with the Grizzlies.
4. The Hustle, playing at the Landers Center in Southaven, will widen the fanbase of the Grizzlies.
5. The Hustle’s open tryouts increase the amount of local basketball players getting a chance at a professional career.
Ed. Note: I was at the Grizz game last night (I don’t want to talk about it, okay?) and I caught a glimpse of the alleged mascot for the Hustle, which was…a turtle. Get it? I thought it was funny, but I also thought it was a joke. I asked the Hustle and this is what they said:
Speedy has a ten-day contract! We will re-evaluate after 😉
— Memphis Hustle (@MemphisHustle) November 2, 2017
What do y’all think about Speedy?
Opening weekend is action packed. The Hustle will make history playing the franchise’s first ever regular season game on Saturday Nov. 4th at 7 p.m. at the Landers Center followed by another game Sunday Nov. 5th at 5 p.m.
The Hustle will provide a lot of weekend fun by playing 16 of its 24 home games on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
Military Night is on Friday, November 10th at 7 p.m. as the Hustle take on the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the defending Western Conference champions.
Some games (TBD) will include a kid’s zone featuring inflatable games, balloon artists, and face painters.
The Memphis Hustle will live stream their games on Facebook.
Single game tickets start at only $10. Get them through Ticketmaster, the Landers Center Box Office, or by calling (901) 888-HOOP.
For season tickets, half-season or 6-game flex packs call (901) 888-HOOP and press 6. Packages start at just $8 per game and include discounts on gear and merchandise, playoff ticket priority for both the Memphis Hustle and Memphis Grizzlies, invitations to select Grizzlies games during the 2017-18 season and more.
Pay $14 for a Plaza Level ticket, 24 oz. Coke, and a Domino’s Personal Pizza every Saturday game starting with the November 25th matchup against the Bayhawks.
Memphis Hustle Voucher Books available for ten regular season game tickets of your choosing.
Memphian and former Tiger Austin Nichols is now back in Memphis playing with the Hustle! Trahson Burrell, Nichols’ former teammate on the Tigers, is also on the roster. I had a chance to meet them at a recent Hustle media day:
— Austin Crowder (@acrowder73) October 23, 2017
— Austin Crowder (@acrowder73) October 23, 2017
Kobi Simmons PG and Vince Hunter SF are currently on two-way contracts playing for the Memphis Hustle while being a part of the Grizzlies’ roster. It will be fun to watch them competing for a permanent spot with the Grizz.
Marquis Teague from Kentucky, a 2012 1st round NBA draft pick who is Jeff Teague’s brother is also on the Hustle this season.
I hope that like myself (and famous ESPN writer Zach Lowe) you now have “a new favorite D League Team.”
In Mississippi we flow. In Memphis we ball. And together we hustle. See you at the Landers Center this season!
About The Author
Austin was raised in the Los Angeles area but found his home (and his Memphian wife) here in Memphis, Tennessee. He teaches high school government and economics in South Memphis. He contributes to theCommercial Appeal, SB Nation, and I Love Memphis. But everyone in the rec basketball league knows his true passion and calling is to grow a few more inches to become an NBA player for the Memphis Grizzlies. Follow him on Twitter @acrowder73.