In celebration of the Memphis Grizzlies donning the Vancouver Grizzlies throwbacks in honour of the 25th anniversary of a franchise they stole from the citizens of Vancouver, I’ve decided to have some fun with “Imagine If” scenarios.
Some of these will be players that the Grizzlies could’ve drafted but chose to draft someone else that year, two players that would’ve thrived in Vancouver with its heavy Asian influence, and a couple of professional goofs who are also good ole local Vancouver boys! Let’s get into it!
Imagine if Linsanity and the Ming Dynasty came to Vancouver
With Vancouver’s large Asian population, Linsanity would’ve hit Vancouver harder than anywhere else in North America. Here’s Jeremy Lin just off Carrall Street in Vancouver’s huge Chinatown area!
No single player in the history of the NBA has had a bigger impact on basketball in China than Yao Ming. Having him suit up in the teal would’ve been a true delight for those here in Vancouver regardless of their background, as well as those in China who frequently come to visit family here anyway! Here he is depicted with his hometown of Shanghai bridging the Vancouver Waterfront.
Neither of these players was around for the teal jersey uniform era, but I’m certain they would’ve gotten to wear a retro at one point as this year’s Memphis Grizzlies will!
Imagine if the Vancouver Grizzlies drafted…
If there was one thing which defined the Grizzlies, it was all of the missed opportunities that came via poor scouting and subsequent drafting. Let’s go through year by year at who they could’ve drafted, and mention who they did draft that year instead.
In the 1995 draft, the Vancouver Grizzlies were restricted from drafting in the top 5, a savage move by the NBA. That was the year the Grizz drafted Bryant Reeves, a very promising centre at the time, but they could have drafted Kevin Garnett who went one position ahead of Bryant. A true champion, here he is thumping his chest over False Creek with downtown and the North Shore mountains in the background. We would’ve loved ya, Big Ticket!
1996’s NBA draft was one of the best drafts in league history, and the Grizzlies were again kept from drafting high. They drafted Shareef Abdur-Rahim that year, and I’m not gonna say much bad about him as I have his jersey, but he wasn’t the Mamba. Kobe Bryant went 13th overall when Vancouver had the 3rd pick. He was a champion who could’ve brought a trophy to Hollywood North.
Kept from the first overall pick when they were statisically likely to get it, the Grizzlies missed out on what of the all-time greats in 1996, who could’ve been The Answer to the franchise’s terribl performances. Allen Iverson in teal just looks good…
The 1996 NBA draft was full of great players, many passed up on true stars, but the fact that the Grizzlies passed on local BC boy Steve Nash is likely the greatest theft that was ever taken from Vancouver. Drafted 15th overall, so many were wrong about his potential as he;s a 2-time MVP and Hall of Famer. Let’s have a beer again some time, Steve!
The 1998 NBA draft was held in Vancouver, and what an event it would’ve been if, instead of drafting Mike Bibby at #2 they had taken Air Canada. Would Vince still have been nicknamed Air Canada in Vancouver, or would he have been WestJet? Not drafting Vince was a cold move when he clearly had so much potential.
Any one of these players would’ve instantly transformed the Grizzlies franchise. I say time and again that Vince himself changed the course of the Toronto Raptors and made their iconic purple dinosaur jerseys, well, iconic. That level of player in Vancouver was exactly what was needed, but their just wasn’t the front office there to pick out talent like this.
BONUS: Imagine if MJ23 became prez of the Grizz instead of the Wiz!
No player has impacted the game like Michael Jeffrey Jordan. None. Lebron has had his moments, but no one has had the cultural impact and iconography of MJ23. After his retirement form the Bulls, Michael went on to be the president of a struggling franchise; the Washington Wizards. After some time in the front office he stepped down and onto the court once more with the Wizards.
What if, and this is a big what if, he had that comeback flow after becoming prez of the struggling Grizzlies…
It’s a pretty photo, at least. Yes, he’s wearing the Air Jordan 17, just as he did with the Wizards.
Imagine if the Vancouver Grizzlies…like…let movie stars play
Two good ole boys from Vancouver, who proudly rep the West everywhere they go, were just too fun to not include! Vancouver’s famously Vancouver-loving Ryan Reynolds, along with the Merc with a Mouth, are here in front of Ryan’s high school. Deadpool is reminding everyone that there are no Grizzlies in Memphis…not anymore, at least!
In a city rich with comedians and actors, there’s on one I follow like I follow Seth Rogen. He is Vancouver through and through, often seen walking the streets and seawall of the city that made him who he is today. Here he is looking rather freaked out that he’s guarding Michael Jordan in front of the Granville Island entrance…
I’ve got to admit tht I had way too much fun putting this together. I’m not a pro, I don’t create photoshop images for anything but fun, but man it was fun to make these “Imagine If” scenarios come to an amateurish life.
Watch out for Memphis wearing the retros this year:
Dates they’ll be wearing them include:
Who do you wish was a Grizzlies player? Comment below and I might make them if I’m bored and add them here!