But boy was I wrong.
The Memphis Grizzlies won me over after a single game. It wasn't just that they played well...they played with heart. I saw something in "my" team that I desperately needed in my life. The 2011-12 season carried me through some very difficult days, and I was devastated (it sounds silly, but it's true) when the season ended with a home loss to the LA Clippers. Over the summer, players moved around, and the team was sold. We wondered if we'd feel the same about the Grizzlies in 2012-13 and if the team would have the same heart that inspired us so deeply.
In October, Jonathan and I flew to LA to watch the Grizzlies open the season at Staples Center versus the Clippers. The game was a disaster, and we were suddenly really worried about the season. Fortunately, the Grizzlies turned things around after that first game, and they started winning....a lot. About that time, we started trading players again. The bombshell was the trade of Rudy Gay, our star player. While there were many people who cheered this move, there were many die-hard Grizz fans who were sad to see Rudy go. Well, at least until he said he wouldn't miss anything about Memphis.
It turns out that Memphis didn't need Rudy. We would come together and pull off our most successful season in franchise history. We would then go down 0-2 before beating the LA Clippers four straight games to silence our 2011-12 demons. Next up was Oklahoma City, the team that beat us in seven games during the second round of the playoffs in 2010-11. After giving away Game 1 in OKC, we came back and won another four straight games. The clincher was last night in OKC. Whew, what a way to close out the series.
Our team is now headed to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. This is a huge moment for our team, both collectively and individually, and for our city. The national media is (sort of) talking about us for the first time, and while we're still underdogs, people are finally starting to see our heart and take us seriously. We're proud Memphians and Grizz fans.
In all of this, we're not renewing our season tickets next year. As much as we love our team and the games, our lives (and budget) has changed, and we can no longer spend the time or the money on season tickets. Despite this, we remain die-hard Grizzlies fans and will tune in to every game. We love our team. We love their heart, their grit and their grind.
We are so proud to have watched them rise from the ashes of last season, and we can't wait to see what happens next.
We believe in Memphis and the Grizzlies.