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thursday, 29

thursday, 29

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I know, I know. I harp on this all the time. And by the time this paper comes out all of the other writers in town will have said the same thing, but I am going to be gone from this page for a couple of weeks and must say, Grizzlies, you are tha team. Sure, we got swept by San Antonio in the playoffs. Lost the first four games. But damn it, we made it to the playoffs for the first time in this team s history. We won 50 games. Hubie Brown was named NBA Coach of the Year. Jerry West, NBA Executive of the Year. In our first season, Pau Gasol, NBA Rookie of the Year. Anybody out there at The Peabody the day he was given that award? The We Love Memphis was so thick in the air you could have cut it with a chain saw. There was the first Martin Luther King Game, where The Pyramid nearly fell into the Mississippi River with the thunder of applause when former MSU coach Larry Finch was escorted out in his wheelchair and managed a wave to the adoring and screaming crowd. There were the three defeats against the world champion San Antonio Spurs in the regular 2003-2004 before this recent round of first-time-for-the Grizzlies playoff games against them. Of course, Tim Duncan was out for those three games, which he should have been (thrown out, that is) during last Thursday s first Memphis Grizzlies playoff home game. You d think a seven-year veteran of the NBA while a great player would be a better sport and not such a big baby. You don t see much of that kind of thing with our guys. What you do see is Jason Williams visiting the kids at St. Jude alone and with no fanfare or press all the time because it makes them feel better. I believe it probably makes him feel pretty good too. If you weren t at the grand opening/press conference when the Grizzlies House opened at St. Jude, with $5 million from the Grizzlies majority owner Michael Heisley to make it possible, you missed the look on Jason s face when, at the end of the ceremony, each and every player on the team came down the isle to take the stage, accompanied by a St. Jude patient. Jason was carrying a particularly small child, not even a toddler yet. The smile on his face, I would imagine, would have out-smiled a playoff win this year. There was the day the Grizzlies announced a half-million grant to MIFA, to be used to help with transitional housing for the homeless at Estival Place. It was a beautiful day and the event was outside and there was a high school marching band and there were lots of little kids who got scared to death of the mascot Grizz and started crying, until Grizz cuddled up to them to make them feel okay and then they wrestled him to the ground. Yeah, the Grizzlies got swept in the playoffs. But the Grizzlies swept Memphis off its feet this year and in all of the days they have been here since moving from Vancouver. I think that s a lot more important than not winning four games out of seven games this past month. So there. There I go again. And here we go with a brief look at what s going on around town this week. Tonight is opening night at Rhodes College s Blount Auditorium of the Memphis Center for Independent Living s production of Justin s Life: A Journey of Justice. Ballet Memphis opens its weekend-long run tonight of Cinderella at The Orpheum, with costumes and sets from the London City Ballet and choreography by Joseph Jeffries. The Memphis Redbirds kick off a three-day run against Oklahoma at AutoZone Park. And tonight s big 25th Handy Awards at the Cannon Center honor the best in blues music, with legends like Bo Diddley being inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and performances by Pinetop Perkins, Charlie Musselwhite, Bettye Lavette, and others.

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