New Fan Guide to the Memphis Grizzlies 2013-2014 Season (Part One)
When teams start to win, they acquire new fans. We all witnessed Grizz Fever during last season's playoffs, so it's clear that this is happening in Memphis. If you are one of the new fans, you may not be up to speed on your Grizzlies or basketball knowledge. Here's a scratch on the surface to get you started, just in time for the first regular season game tonight at 7:30 against the Spurs in San Antonio. This is Part One of the New Fan Guide. I'll put up Part Two before lunchtime today.
Grizz waving his flag, fans young and old. The season is starting, and I'm very happy about it.
1. Who are our players? Five players per team are on the court at a time, and several others from the bench will be waiting to sub in or out. Here is the main cast:
#11 Mike Conley Mike is our trusty point guard, the main ball-handler, the on-court quarterback.
#33 Marc Gasol Marc is from Spain, and he went to high school in Memphis. He's the NBA's 2013 Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA, which means we are super proud of him. Nickname: "Big Spain"
#50 Zach Randolph Zach is an NBA All-Star, a big guy who's known to have a bit of a temper and a lot of heart. Nickname: "ZBo"
Left to right: Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph. (Photos by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
#9 Tony Allen T.A. may be the most popular player, as much from his entertaining Twitter account as his "Grit and Grind" defensive playing style, a phrase that he coined. Nickname: "The Grindfather" or "T.A."
#20 Quincy Pondexter He really shined in the playoffs last year. He also asked out Miss Tennessee on a date. Nickname: "Q-Pon"
#7 Jerryd Bayless This is his second year with the Grizz. This is a very cool thing he did last year. There's no nickname that I know, so I suggest "Three" in hopes that Jerryd brings some more of his three-pointers this year. (Traded)
Left: Tony Allen (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images). Center: Quincy Pondexter (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE
via Getty Images). Right: Jerryd Bayless (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images).
# Mike Miller He's the one with the hair. He played for the Grizzlies from 2003 to 2008, and now he's back.
#21 Tayshaun Prince Prince came to the Grizzlies last year, and he has the wingspan of a Boeing 747.
Left: Mike Miller (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images). Right: Tayshaun Prince (Photo by NIkki Boertman/NBAE via Getty Images).
2. How much does it cost to go to games? I hate to give even a ballpark amount, because prices vary wildly, but I'll do it anyways: You can probably sit in the middle of the Terrace (upper level) of the arena for about $30ish. You can maybe sit in the middle of Plaza (lower level) for about $70ish. The price goes up or down a lot for either of these depending on how close you are to the court or which game it is, so don't take my word for it. Tickets through FedExForum are here, including season tickets, which are a great deal if you plan on going to several games.
Grizz Girls perform throughout the game in between plays and in the stands.
Let me now bring up (again) that ESPN Magazine named the Grizzlies the Best Sports Franchise, partly because of the team's stellar bang for your buck. Our ticket prices are much lower (and in some cases, much, much lower) than other franchises' and our venue, in-game entertainment, crowd participation are the best in the NBA.
3. Where do I watch the games if I'm not going to FedExForum? If you want to go out to watch the game, you have options. A few I've heard a buzz about: Max's Sports Bar in the South Main District, Bardog downtown, Local on the Square at Overton Square, and Dan McGuiness in East Memphis. I don't have a regular place myself, but I've enjoyed games at Alchemy because of their huge bar and good view of multiple TVs, as well as The Bayou because they have screens set up facing all different directions and cheap drink specials. If you have any suggestions or information on good places to watch the game, drop me a line.
Chiwawa in Midtown is the Official Watch Party location for the first game tonight. I'll be there, so please say hello if you see me.
3. Who are our rivals? The Oklahoma City Thunder, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Los Angeles Clippers are the Grizzlies' main rivals. We've played all of these teams in the playoffs with mixed results, so when we're up against them, it's about getting revenge or staying on top of the rivalry. "Rivalry" might be too nice of a word to describe the Grizzlies' relationship with the Clippers. Maybe "blood feud" would be more accurate.
I'll be adding to this guide in a few hours with Part Two. In the meantime, you can take a look at the season's full schedule and follow the Grizzlies on Twitter if you are so inclined. You can also watch this lovely video from Choose901 about how our Grizzlies love us as much as we love them.
*correction: A previous version of this post said that ESPN Magazine rated the Grizzlies Best Franchise in the NBA. The Grizzlies were named the Best Franchise in Sports, not just the NBA.