Rarely do I side with Laker fans…
…but I’ll make an exception just this once for ex-Bronco great Shannon Sharpe.
See, Shannon Sharpe has actually won something in his professional life. 3 Super Bowls to be exact. He retired as the best tight end in the history of football (Obviously not the case anymore, but impressive nonetheless). His only flaw is that he’s a Lakers fan, but I digress.
So why am I deciding to side with the Lakers (who I hate), and their fans (who I hate even more) over the exciting brand of basketball that is the Memphis Grizzlies?
For most of 2022, the Grizzlies seemed like they were quickly becoming the new darlings of the NBA. It was hard not to like them. The most athletic guard since a young Derrick Rose, Ja Morant was turning into the most exciting player to watch in the league. He had supreme confidence in his abilities and he exuded it onto the court. Ja Morant is a special talent, there’s no denying that.
But somewhere along the line, that loveable confidence turned into an unfounded cockiness.
This interview aired on December 20th, the same day these very same Grizzlies were outclassed by the Denver Nuggets 105-91, putting them below the Nuggets in the Western Conference standings for the first time this season. (PSA: They’ve stayed there).
But these comments irked many fans, not just the ones in Denver.
I can’t lie, Ja saying this pissed me off. Like many Warriors fans, or Lakers fans, or any other team in the Western Conference, I was thinking the same thing:
“What the fuck has this team accomplished?”
Has there ever been a cockier team that’s achieved absolutely nothing?
This Grizzlies team haven’t even made it to the Western Conference Finals yet.
So Ja Morant saying, “I’m fine in the West” is bullshit, plain and simple.
This is something only Steph, Draymond, or Klay has a right to say, because the Warriors, and I know this sounds crazy, have actually done something in this league other than talk shit and dance in the tunnel before games.
See, there’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness among teams that haven’t won anything. One is needed to win a championship. The other is delusion or insecurity. Or both.
The 2015 Warriors walked this fine line perfectly on the leadup to their first championship.
Were they confident? Hell yeah they were. They had every right to be. These Warriors changed the game of basketball as we know it, with one of the greatest players ever leading the charge in Steph Curry. Steph and the rest of that team were confident because they knew they were the best. They became cocky when they PROVED they WERE the best. They had the MVP of the league on the best roster in the league.
What do the Grizzlies have?
An exciting roster led by an injury-prone superstar.
That’s literally it.
Ja isn’t the best player in the world, the Grizzlies have ONE of the best rosters in the league, not definitively the best, and Ja Morants supposed co-star Jaren Jackson Jr. is even more injury-prone than he is.
Look at who Ja Morant claimed he doesn’t see as a threat:
–The Nuggets have the back to back MVP with a similarly great roster around him. The core of this team has actually made it to the Western Conference Finals. Additionally, Nikola Jokic would be the best player in a series between these two teams. Also, I think it’s fair to say Denver’s top 8 players are better than Memphis’ top 8, which is the only thing that matters come playoff time.
–The Mavericks have Luka, who’s the same age as Ja, has gone farther in the playoffs, and is easily the best player between the two.
–The Pelicans have an equally deep roster with Zion Williamson, who when healthy, is a better player than Ja (he is, look it up).
–The Warriors are a dynasty led by one of the best players ever. They knocked this very same Grizzlies squad out of the playoffs last year in 6 games.
-Hell, even the Suns have made it to the Finals.
Ja Morant and the Grizzlies have accomplished less than every one of these teams minus the Pelicans.
So yeah, I think it’s fair to say I’m not this guy:
I’m not telling athletes how to act.
I’m not saying Ja Morant and the Grizzlies can’t be cocky.
Just be ready Memphis…
Because from now on, every year that goes by that YOU don’t win a championship, it’s fair game for every media member and fan that follows the NBA to eviscerate you. To call you out for your unfounded cockiness. To pick you apart for everything you’ve said and done these past couple of years.
Prove it or lose it Grizz.
I’m betting some major loot that you lose it.
(Author’s note: David Roddy is excluded from any and all of this Grizzlies slander)