What a season the Memphis Grizzlies have had. Holding the second-best spot in the Western Conference, Ja Morant and company have turned heads this season. All-Stars Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. are playing some of the best basketball of their young careers, and there’s no doubt that this team will be hungry for more come postseason time.
However, it seems that the Grizzlies are frequently met with more hatred than praise, and for good reason. This is a team that LOVES to talk trash. Almost every night, players can be seen chirping opponents, win or lose. Videos have gone viral of the team doing a 49ers-esque dance mob walking out of the locker room.
It’s like that one player at your local basketball gym that talks more trash than a landfill. No matter the circumstances, they’ll just stay in your ear all game long. Memphis just doesn’t stop bringing the controversy.
While, yes, this type of talk from NBA players is nothing new and seems harmless on the surface, we’ve gotten some pretty ugly moments. In a recent game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks fell into Cavs guard Donovan Mitchell, preceding to take a shot at his groin. No doubt a dirty play, this sparked a near-brawl between the two, and Brooks was met with criticism on social media, then an eventual suspension.
Earlier in the season, in a matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooks was again seen causing controversy, this time with a fan. Not just any fan, but NFL Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe. Brooks called Sharpe a “pedestrian,” quite the name for an all-time great athlete.
Now, in the most recent installment of Memphis madness, following a win against the Indiana Pacers, a confrontation occurred between associates of Morant and Pacers’ team members. After the confrontation, it was reported that a slow-moving SUV (with Morant in the vehicle) was seen passing by the team bus, with a red laser being pointed at the members of the Pacers. They believe it was attached to a gun.
Of course, this still has to be speculated, but let’s be honest here, are players walking around with little toy lasers in their pockets?
Ja Morant recently spoke to the Daily Memphian, talking about the incident and why the Grizzlies are the most hated team in the NBA. Well, if anything, the previous occurrences I just mentioned are exactly why.
Allegedly pointing guns at people and attempting to injure other players is unacceptable. When you do something that endangers another person, there’s no way around it. It’s likely that if the NBA’s investigation proves the allegations to be true, Morant and his associates will be in big trouble.
Aside from the gun incident, NBA fans should relish the fact that there is finally some spice to the league. The NBA has become so buddy-buddy in recent years, but the Grizzlies are somewhat of a new group of villains to the league. Even LeBron James expressed his displeasure for the team.
Obviously, this is far from the previous villains of the NBA: Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and the Golden State Warriors. They were a dynasty, and that’s why they were so hated. As of right now, the Grizzlies are more of a Plankton to the rest of the NBA being Mr. Krabs. They haven’t actually won anything (at least not yet), so a lot of critics will say that they’re all bark, no bite.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a team that the public nearly unanimously dislikes (aside from their own fans, of course). Although I side with the public, I can appreciate that they’re making this league interesting. I recently talked about how the NBA should add more rivalries to the game through divisional champions and teams should really go at each other when it counts. Well, this is a great start. We’ll see whether the Grizzlies have the right to talk smack in a few months.