Explaining the Memphis Grizzlies implosion

Dennis J. Freeman
4 min readMay 12, 2023
Explaining the Memphis Grizzlies implosion

(News4usonline) — The Memphis Grizzlies like to talk. When it comes to chirping, perhaps no team in the NBA does it better than the young, talented and annoying Grizzlies. That’s why they’re sitting at home watching the rest of the playoffs.

The Grizzlies talk too much. Memphis players don’t know how to shut up and play. After their early exit in the 2023 NBA playoffs, a deeper inspection of the Grizzlies’ vomit by talking nature is necessary.

Oct. 23, 2021. Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant stored 28 points in his team’s 120–114 win against the Los Angeles Clippers. Photo credit: Melinda Meijer/News4usonline

Throughout the regular season and through the playoffs, the Grizzlies made inflammatory remarks about their opponent and presented themselves as being unprofessional. Ja Morant, the Grizzlies’ star guard and one of the new poster child of the NBA decided to go thuggish and made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

This was the season that Morant was supposed to take the Grizzlies, the Western Conference’s №2-seeded team deep in the postseason. That didn’t happen because media headlines around Morant centered more on his attitude and lifestyle than what he does on the basketball court.

After a defeat to the Denver Nuggets earlier this year, Morant was seen on Instagram live, flaunting and displaying a firearm at a strip club. That was not a good look for either Morant or the ballclub. Morant wound up being suspended for eight games.

Without question, this incident, near the end of the regular season, had an impact on the Grizzlies getting bounced in the first round. That was one distraction the Grizzlies did not need going into the postseason.

Then there is the matter of Dillion Brooks. Brooks outdid his teammate in the negativity department thanks to the forward running his mouth like a water faucet when the Grizzlies played the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. Like his buddy, Morant, Brooks made the headlines for the wrong reasons. Just all bad.

Brooks, who has built a reputation for trash-talking and getting into game-time foolery, was just plain disrespectful toward LeBron James and the Lakers. After Game 2 against the Lakers, Brooks went the “Dumb and Dumber” route when he raked James over the coals with some basketball-related disparaging remarks.

“I don’t care. He’s old. … I poke bears. I don’t respect someone until he gives me 40,” Brooks told reporters, and later replayed by Tim MacMahon via Twitter. The Lakers beat Memphis in the best-of-seven series, winning four games to the Grizzlies’ two. The Lakers clinched the series with a 125–85 win in Game 6. That would be exactly 40 points.

24 in the books. keep fighting. keep pushing. pic.twitter.com/kG1wMTg5yb

— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) April 29, 2023

On top of his verbal exchanges with James during their playoff series, Brooks and the Grizzlies ran their mouths in the postseason last year against Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors. Green and Golden State had the final say, kicking Brooks and Memphis right out of the playoffs in six games on their way to a fourth NBA title.

Green had this to say about Brooks after reading a statement from Brooks about him this season and the Warriors: “Next time you speak up on me you should do some fact-checking…you’re a clown.” Via Bleacher report on Youtube.

Before the Grizzlies were ousted from the playoffs by the Lakers, Memphis recorded a regular season tally of 51–31. Brooks averaged 14.3 points per game during the regular season and only 10.5 points per game. With his numbers and his production dropping, it has been rumored or leaked that Memphis is not interested in bringing Brooks back next season.

In the final games of the Lakers-Grizzlies series, Brooks chose not to speak to the media and made himself unavailable to the press. He was fined $25,000 by the NBA.

Brooks is not the first NBA player to become famous for their trash talk. However, avoiding the media when times are tough is not a good look. Bad sportsmanship is also not a good look. The Grizzlies need to act more professionally to change that makeup.

Reporter Dennis J. Freeman contributed to this story

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja’Morant warms up before hitting the court against the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 21, 2020. Morant was named the 2019–20 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year. Photo by Mark Hammond



Dennis J. Freeman

The storyteller. More than a journalist. I write about sports and social justice. Editor of News4usonline.com and Black Sports United. Howard University alum.