With Elvis Week upon us, here are a few dedications to sports personalities who could use a touch of the King.
To Dave Joerger — “Promised Land”
“Tell the folks back home this is the promised land calling / And the poor boy is on the line.” Okay, Joerger is hardly a poor boy. But he’s paid his dues, first winning titles in basketball’s minor leagues, more recently for six years as an assistant coach with the Grizzlies. So to finally earn the big seat with an NBA team has to be especially rewarding to Joerger, even if there are local fans not all that pleased with his predecessor’s departure. Joerger’s challenge, of course, is to take his team to the promised land (read: an NBA title).
To Jacob Karam — “The Wonder of You”
Call me sentimental, but a quarterback who can play piano for cancer-stricken children and, with a smile on his face, sing along? I don’t know if Karam will keep his football job this fall, or if he’ll play in a bowl game with the Memphis Tigers. But he has my permission to — several years from now — request a date from my daughter.
To Johnny Manziel — “I Forgot to Remember to Forget”
Whether it’s an alarm clock or his drink limit, it seems there are a few details Johnny Football has forgotten to remember (or remembered to forget?) during his first offseason as a Heisman Trophy winner. If the recent investigation into his autograph signing goes sour — and proves Manziel profited from the scribble — his one season on the field for Texas A & M will be memorable, in part, for what we’d like to forget.
To Oscar Taveras — “I Feel So Bad”
“Like a ballgame on a rainy day.” He was supposed to be that rare minor-league baseball talent who could sell tickets himself, a prodigious hitting talent endlessly compared with Vladimir Guerrero. But after suffering an ankle sprain in centerfield on May 12th, Oscar Taveras may as well have been a good rumor in these parts. As of today, Taveras has appeared in but 46 games for the Memphis Redbirds, and only 20 at AutoZone Park. There could be an ironic twist (pardon the pun) to Oscar’s tale: with all his time missed this season, Taveras could end up playing Triple-A baseball in 2014. At AutoZone Park.
To Mike Miller — “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You”
Mutual affection burst from the lobby of FedExForum last month when the newly signed Miller was re-introduced to adoring Memphis Grizzlies fans who remember his days with the team from 2002 to 2008. Winner of the Sixth Man Award with Memphis in 2006, Miller returns with a pair of shiny championship rings, courtesy of some talented friends in Miami. If his bothersome back holds up, the 33-year-old Miller will fill an important need — perimeter shooter — for a club that considers itself a missing piece or two away from the NBA Finals.
To Manu Ginobili — “[You’re the] Devil in Disguise”
You could see the horns, right? You saw the horns?
To Lionel Hollins — “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”
Man coaches NBA team to franchise-record 56 wins. Same man leads team to conference finals for first time in franchise history. And the next season? Man is unemployed. The annual coaching carousel — professional version — finally finished spinning this summer, with Lionel Hollins still looking to board. Rigid with his new bosses and all-too-honest publicly, Hollins endeared himself to thousands of Grizzly fans, but not to the man who now matters most at FedExForum: CEO Jason Levien. Hollins will coach again. That carousel warms up around December with the first five-game losing streak a team suffers.
To Alex Rodriguez — “[Now and Then There’s] A Fool Such as I”
You had to see this one coming.
To Josh Pastner — “Stuck On You”
The Golden Boy turns 36 next month and will blow out his candles with glee, having signed a contract extension that will pay him $2.6 million a year to coach the Memphis Tigers at least through the 2017-18 season. Pastner’s won 106 games over his four years as a head basketball coach and hasn’t yet swayed from the good-guy pitch he delivered upon being introduced as John Calipari’s successor in 2009. Consider Memphis hooked.