A Wright, Wronged.
Old 08-24-2011, 10:13 PM   #1 (permalink)

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A Wright, Wronged.

Heading into the ’10-11 NBA season, no city was in need of lift more than Memphis. Among the poorest big cities in America, Memphis suffers from a 26 percent poverty rate, a high school graduation rate of about 33 percent and staggering unemployment. To make matters worse, their Grizzlies hadn’t made the NBA Playoffs since Jerry West left the front office.

Many months later, Memphis still struggles as a city, but on the court there was an astonishing turnaround: This year’s squad was a version that Memphians, rich and poor, could get behind. Their rugged, blue-collar blend of overachievers and castoffs was the surprise of this year’s Playoffs. Knee deep in Mississippi mud from floodwaters—and hardly anyone has flood insurance in Memphis—the team had the best run in franchise history, upsetting top-seeded San Antonio in the first round. It takes a lot to get people there excited, but the second round got Beale Street rocking and rolling again and kept Memphis on the national stage.

The Grizzlies’ post-season run was almost enough to help locals forget their recent troubles, if not the stain from being known as the place where Martin Luther King Jr was murdered over 30 years ago. (It should be noted that there were plenty of towns in America in 1968 where King could have been assassinated. In Chicago, for instance, the Neanderthals tried to kill him the old fashioned way, with rocks and bricks. Also worth noting about Memphis is its National Civil Rights Museum, which has been an inspiring winner since its creation.)

But even in the afterglow of the franchise’s record-setting season, something should still keep Grizzlies fans from hibernating peacefully all summer in the mid-south humidity. After all the backslapping and celebrating, after the bonus checks have been cashed, after the party ends and everyone goes home, who will weep for Lorenzen Wright?
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