My Summer Lair Chapter #248: Why Did The Vancouver Grizzlies Leave?
History Lesson, Kids:
On November 1, 1946…shortly after World War II the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, in what was the first game played in NBA history. Basketball of course was created by Canadian James Naismith in the winter of 1891.
The Huskies folded by 1947 and the NBA struggled to survive. Eventually the league merged with the ABA in 1976. Fast forward past Magic and Bird and Kareem and Wilt and Jordan to 1995 where the NBA expanded with 2 Canadian teams. Basketball returned to Toronto; that team was now called the Raptors and the other team was the Vancouver Grizzlies.
The Raptors went on to win a championship in 2019 while the Grizzlies struggled. The team won 101 games, lost 359 and never qualified for the NBA playoffs. They subsequently moved to Memphis, Tennessee, for the 2001–02 season.
So what happened? Why did the Grizzlies break up with Vancouver after 6 years? This is what The Grizzlie Truth by director Kat Jayme a diehard Vancouver Grizzlies fan is attempting to answer. This is her second Grizzlies documentary; Finding Big Country came out in 2018.
The Grizzlie Truth is an investigation; it’s detective work to unpack and explore a number of factors that lead to the team moving from Vancouver to Memphis. Having been to both cities I can assure you they are completely different vibes.
To expand on some of the restrictions the NBA owners put on both Canadian NBA teams: Toronto and Vancouver; in an odd bit of timing Sports Illustrated wrote about the demise of the Grizzlies in the recent article The Long-Forgotten First Chapter of the Grizzlies.
It’s never one thing, teams don’t always leave for one specific reason. Kat’s documentary about the Grizzlies underscores that. Our conversation only highlighted some of the contributing factors; for the rest do check out the documentary.
Host Sammy Younan
Recorded: Tuesday November 29, 2022 at 5:30 pm
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