Our series on the four jerseys fans of every NBA team continues today. It’s Southwest Division week, and today we’re focusing on the Memphis Grizzlies. Remember, we’re not just going to list off four popular players in team history. We know that when you’re wearing a jersey, you’re going for a “look.” So every day we’re going to tell you the jersey you’ve got to have, the jersey you can’t go wrong with (in case you can’t find the first one), the jersey that will make people say “Oh, that’s awesome,” and the joke jersey that will have everyone laughing.
The Grizzlies are Canadian immigrants who have made Memphis their home. Born in Vancouver, things have not gone very well in Les Grizz 16 seasons (their 450-830 records hammers that point home). They have had a difficult time emerging from the early troubles that always befall expansion teams.
But that is changing. They had a brief run into the playoff from 2004 to 2006, but it wasn’t until this past season that they won their first playoff game and series. This set of jerseys will reflect a team that has its brightest days ahead of it. Because Grizzlies history is best left in the past, our four jerseys will focus more on the future.
Rudy Gay — In two years, assuming he plays full seasons, Gay will become the franchise’s leading scorer. He’s the face, and future, of the franchise. At only 25, he’s one of the league’s emerging stars and he’s only getting better. If the Grizz go anywhere in the coming years, it will be in large part to Gay’s emergence as one of the league’s go-to guys. His #22 is a must for fans of this young team.
Can’t Go Wrong With:
Marc Gasol — We are taking a leap of faith here. Gasol is a restricted free agent that, in reality, may not be there in two months. But we’re taking him at his word when he says he wants to be back. And we’re taking team owner Michael Heisley’s recent history of paying what’s necessary to keep guys in the fold into account. Gasol is coming into his own as a tough young center who will do the dirty work you want a guy like him to do. Along with Gay and Zach Randolph, Gasol is an important part of the core of this team. We say grab his #33 with the thought there’s no way Memphis lets him walk.
“Oh, That’s Cool”:
Shareef Abdur-Rahim — He was the franchise’s first big-name player. He still holds the highest career scoring average in team history as well as the third highest rebounding average. He was never quite the superstar that some thought he could be, and there was no doubt he was only really effective on the offensive side of the ball, but this one is cool because of what it represents. As the team’s first true superstar, it shows you are truly a Grizzlies fan who embraces the entire franchise, and #3 was its first bright spot.
“Oh, That’s Funny”:
Bryant Reeves — The team’s first ever draft pick and first ever draft bust. Sure, he looked good in Oklahoma State. And yes, everyone was looking for the next great big man at that time. But “Big Country” just got too big for the NBA. After some promising early returns (he averaged 16 and 8 in his second and third years in Vancouver) he just got too heavy, and too hurt. His playing career lasted six years (though he spent two years on the Memphis payroll) and he made about $60 million over that time. So don’t cry for Big Country… laugh at him by wearing his #50 down Beale Street.
There you have it. The four jerseys Grizzlies fans have got to have. Disagree with us? Let us know who we missed in the comments.
Atlantic Division: Boston, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto
Central Division: Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana, Milwaukee
Southeast Division: Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando, Miami, Washington
Pacific Division: Golden State, LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Phoenix, Sacramento
Northwest Division: Denver, Oklahoma City, Minnesota, Portland, Utah
Southwest Division: Dallas, Houston
Tomorrow: New Orleans
Jeff Garcia collaborated on this post