The floor where Vancouver Grizzles coaches tried futilely to teach infamous draft bust Stromile Swift offensive and defensive rotations and help others from the ill-starred Canadian NBA franchise hone their dubious games is up for safe. It turns out the Grizzlies' old practice court in Richmond, B.C., has been preserved since the team moved to Memphis in 2002 — but now the new owner of the facility is selling it. The floor is being taken out to put in "interlocking trampolines."
Vancouver Basketball (@NBAvancouver) discovered the Craigslist posting: the asking price for the floor is $13,000 Cdn. Was that price point chosen because the team averaged only 13,000 fans per game during their last two seasons before going to Graceland? Well, actually it was chosen at random. Just could not resist the line.
From Petti Fong:
Since the company Extreme Air Park, which now owns the space, placed the ad last Friday, owner Michael Marti has received nearly 60 calls, some of them from Memphis.
... The court was part of Gold's Gym in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond. The facility has since been sold and is now being redeveloped as a 42,000-square-foot area of interlocking trampolines."It's in terrific shape. If it was beat up and not worth anything, it would have been a no-brainer for us to throw it away," Marti said in an interview with the Star between fielding phone calls from interested purchasers.
"We're trying to look for something that makes sense rather than ripping out this beautiful floor and putting it in the dumpster. It's the last of the Grizzlies here in Vancouver." (Toronto Star)
Talk about an expensive way to get the basement finished before company comes for Christmas, eh.
"Our company has moved into a new building which used to house the training court for the Vancouver Grizzlies and we are looking for anyone interested in taking the floor off of our hands!" the Craiglist posting says. "Perfect for any fan of the Grizzlies when they were around or even an NBA collector!"
It would be a conversation piece to own the parquet where Bryant (Big Country) Reeves and other members of one of the most hapless franchises in NBA history honed their dubious games. Maybe there are a lot of Rich Texan types who would love to have it? It's probably a reach, though, to think one of them once stayed up late on a school night in 1995 to watch the Grizzlies shock the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime to win their inaugural home opener, because it felt great to have something to believe in. Even better, those '95-96 Grizzlies didn't have a cartoon dinosaur dribbling a ball on the front of their jersey.
That win moved Vancouver to 2-0. They were never above .500 that late in a season again. The Grizzlies lost 78 per cent of their games during their six seasons in Vancouver and never had more than 23 wins in any campaign. Bad management was one culprit, but there was also bad luck with a plunging Canadian dollar and the unfavourable terms of the NBA expansion agreement that prevented the Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors from having the No. 1 draft pick.
There is no economic or financial reason pro basketball could not work in Canucks Country if the NBA returned, although Vancouver would have to get in line behind Seattle for a team. Th fact one can buy the old team's practice floor tells you just how distant the memory is of when Vancouver was in the NBA. Canadian hoops fans will always have that 2-0 start in 1995-96, though.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.