The Vancouver Grizzlies put together six of the worst seasons the NBA has ever seen in their short time in our city.
Their inaugural 15-win season in 1995-96 ranks 10th-worst all-time in NBA history in an 82-game schedule. In year two they won just 14 games, making it the 8th-worst season in the history of the league.
Only one other team, the Dallas Mavericks in 1992-93 and 1993-94, has strung together two consecutive seasons with fewer wins.
In the lockout shortened season of 1998-99, the Grizzlies posted their worst winning percentage season, finishing with an 8-42 record.
Vancouver’s best season was their final season in 2000-2001, when they won a whopping 23 games which was good enough for fourth-worst in the NBA.
So the Grizzlies were bad, really bad.
But yet… I still miss them.
As we get ready to welcome back the Toronto Raptors for their annual preseason game at Rogers Arena on Saturday, I can’t help but reminisce about the good times.
1. Star power
What makes this year’s Raptors visit extra special is who they’re playing. The game might not mean anything in the standings, but getting a chance to see Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant play is something special.
Kind of reminds me of the buzz in the building for Grizzlies games when Michael Jordan or Shaquille O’Neal came to town. People didn’t necessarily come to watch the Grizzlies, they came to see the stars.
Nobody that watched Michael Jordan’s first game in Vancouver will ever forget his 19 points in the final six minutes to seal the win for the Chicago Bulls.
The NBA, unlike any other league in North America, produces stars that are single-handedly worth the price of admission.
2. The show
The production value of a live NBA game is unmatched by any other league.
The game itself is only part of the show.
Just take the Grizzlies team mascot, Grizz, who would repel down from the rafters before the game and in the second half, would morph into Super Grizz.
Super Grizz would come onto the floor, jump off a trampoline, and throw down thunderous dunks.
3. Something else to watch
I love hockey and I love Canucks games. But it was nice to have other sporting options during those dark winter nights in Vancouver.
On some nights, you’d be forced to choose between Canucks and Grizzlies and a not-so-insignificant number of people would choose the Grizzlies. Remember this was also the Messier era in Vancouver.
It’s nice to have options, you know?
4. Big Country
5. The drama
There aren’t any other sports that offer a buzzer-beater finishes with as much regularity as basketball.
No, they didn’t win the NBA championship that night in the video above, they just won their first home game. I mean, just count the number of people jumping up and down, what a scene.
The Grizzlies didn’t come out on top very often, but when they did, it was a hell of a lot of fun.
The best one, of course, was their very first home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves when Chris King tipped-in a rebound off a Byron Scott miss that sent GM Place into a frenzy.
6. The game
Basketball’s a great game, period.
Getting to watch larger-than-life men soar through the air and throw down dunks is nice too.
We’ll get a chance to watch preseason NBA action live once again on Saturday, but it’s just a sampling of what the NBA could offer Vancouver if a team were to ever return.
We got a chance to see a bad basketball team play for six years, and people still miss the Grizzlies. Imagine how we’d feel if we lost a good NBA team. Imagine how we’d feel if we could reminisce about great playoff games.
Imagine if we got our own team again.