Vancouver is one of my favourite Canadian cities, but for basketball? Not so much. The Vancouver Grizzlies joined the NBA with the Toronto Raptors in 1995, yet both franchises took decidedly different paths. If a team's destiny can be predicted by their initial draft picks you need only look at Damon Stoudamire, the eventual Rookie of the Year, and Bryant Reeves, who's career was cut short due to injury after 6 seasons. It's no secret the Griz packed up and left town for Memphis in 2001, there were a number of reasons between bad management and by virtue weak personnel, shady ownership and poor attendance. Meanwhile at GM Place, Vancouver hockey fans continue to wait 38 years for the Canucks to win their first Stanley Cup.
The Vancouver Courier's Rick Hasiuk laments, that part of the reason they are gone is that the NBA is a "ghetto gutter." (Oh no he didn't). Now before you go off on his asinine quasi-racist comments, please keep in mind his only other claim to fame is winning the Courier's first annual beard-growing contest. I'm not going to call out and comment on what he has said, many have done so already. I'm just extending an invitation to Mr. Hasiuk to articulate or possibly even take both feet out of his mouth, I'd love to give you a forum and speak with you on what you were trying to say, or just tell you how wrong you are. Seriously and in all honesty, hit me up.
In other breaking news Steve Francis was traded to the team that drafted him 10 years ago, as the Memphis Grizzlies acquired the injury riddled guard from the Houston Rockets for a draft pick and a box of cheesey poofs. While it's not quite Vancouver, the team he refused to play for after being drafted by them first overall, it's an ironic and fitting twist (or end), to his underwhelming career. Somewhere on Robson Street someone is lighting something up in celebration.