Memphis Grizzlies

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The Memphis Grizzlies are a National Basketball Association (NBA) team based in Memphis, Tennessee. They are members of the Western Conference, Southwest Division.

History and League Success

The Grizzlies were founded in 1995 as the Vancouver Grizzlies as a part of the NBA expansion to Canada (the other team was based in Toronto as the Toronto Raptors); the NBA had not had a presence in the country since the early days of its formation and had never had a presence in Western Canada. One name in contention for the team was the "Mounties", however the name could not be licensed from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)[1], and there was a fear that the name would not attract a younger demographics. Therefore, they adopted the name "Grizzlies" to honor the grizzly bear, which is native to Western Canada.

In 2001 the team relocated to Memphis. Because grizzly bears are not native to the south-central United States, the team wanted to rename itself the "Express" (in honor of FedEx, the international shipping company based in Memphis), but the NBA refused the change due to it being "corporate sounding", and thus they did not change the name. (However, when the NBA started allowing corporate logos on team uniforms, FedEx's logo was quickly placed on the Memphis uniforms.)

They are the only top-level professional sports franchise in Memphis, and the only NBA franchise in Tennessee.

The Grizzlies have never appeared in the NBA Finals, nor have they ever won their division.

Because of Memphis' association with Martin Luther King (being where he was assassinated), the Grizzlies annually host a home game on the MLK holiday (one of two teams that does so, the Atlanta Hawks are the other).

NBA Southwest Division Rivals

Retired Numbers

No player having played for the Grizzlies has had his number retired by the team.

The only number retired by the team is #6, which was retired league-wide for Bill Russell.


  1. The RCMP strongly opposes commercial use of the name "Mounties", especially if there is a possibility that it could bring reproach to the force (a former WWF heel wrestler called "The Mountie" [real name Jacques Rougeau Jr.], who dressed in the Mountie uniform, was legally prohibited from using the name and dress when the WWF performed in Canada, though they could not halt its use elsewhere).

Official Team Website

NBA Teams
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