When it comes to attending the Memphis Grizzlies’ home games at the FedEx Forum, the most familiar and recognizable voice of the team may receive the least amount of attention.
Who is behind the Public Address Announcing at the games on Beale Street? That would be Mr. Rick Trotter.
Mr. Trotter obliged to do an interview so that Grizzlies fans can learn more about the man behind the microphone. You never know, he may soon be the person introducing the next NBA World Champions at a championship victory rally–in Memphis, Tennessee.
Check out Rick Trotter’s answers to 11 Grizzlies-related questions below and catch him in action as he announces future home games in the Grindhouse.
Q: How long have you been a member of the Memphis Grizzlies?
A: This is my ninth season with the team. I started at the beginning of the 2006-07 season.
Q: What do you enjoy most about the home crowd?
A: I most enjoy the home crowd’s response to great basketball. The Grizzlies home crowd was raise experiencing great basketball in this city on the high school and college level. Their basketball IQ is pretty high. Many of them were reluctant to invest in a team that put a poor product on the floor. Some were ready to surmise that Memphis couldn’t or wouldn’t support an NBA franchise. But, then Lionel Hollins got the players’ attention and Zach Randolph took advantage of a fresh opportunity here. The basketball got better and the fans hopped on board.
Q: Do you have a favorite saying or phrase that you use in your P.A. announcing, such as on a three-point shot or after an opponent’s turnover?
A: My favorite phrase is “Shot Clock Violated!” The Grizzlies defense became their hallmark. When the opposing team spends 24 seconds trying to get a shot to the rim and fail, the horn sounds and I shout “Shot Clock Violated!” and my beloved home crowd goes wild.
Q: What has been the most memorable Grizzlies moment that you have witnessed in person as Memphis’ P.A. announcer?
A: Game Three of the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, the eighth-seeded Grizzlies came home tied 1-1 with the dreaded number one-seeded San Antonio Spurs. Under a minute to play, Grizzlies have a two-point lead, looking for their first home playoff win in franchise history and Zach Randolph takes and makes a three-point jumper over Tim Duncan and FedEx Forum lost its collective mind! We beat the Spurs, winning our first playoff series ever. The night was magical!
Q: This season, the Memphis Grizzlies have enjoyed their best start to a season in franchise history. What sets this season’s team apart from Grizzlies’ teams from the past?
A: This team is led by four players in Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, and Tony Allen who seem to really enjoy one another and, after four seasons together with success and heartbreak, they know one another. They have confidence in their identity as a unit, they’ve got a great coach to lead them and support off the bench, and this is arguably the best Grizzlies team in the history of the franchise.
Q:What is your favorite Memphis Grizzlies matchup/opponent?
A: That’s a tough one because we’ve got an embattled history with the Spurs, who have historically dominated us, the Oklahoma City Thunder who we’ve played evenly over the four to five seasons and the hated, I stress, hated Los Angeles Clippers. As a city, we hate the Clippers. To a player, the Grizzlies hate the L.A. Clippers. They famously beat us in a first round series in which they overcame a 27-point deficit to beat us at home in Game One. They are sports media darlings; we were relatively unmentioned. They are high-flying, high-scoring; we are a defense-oriented, ground-and-pound team. Their star forward has Kia commercials and jumped over a car; our star forward had to overcome a history of bad decisions and can’t jump over a nickel. L.A. is a city of glitz and glamor; Memphis is largely a blue-collar town. And, then there’s the flopping. Our crowd cannot respect skilled players like Paul and Griffin exaggerating contact to gain advantage. We love hating this team and it’s obvious. If you only go to one game in the Grizzlies season, make it a Clippers/Grizz game.
Q: It will soon be two months into the regular season. Which Grizzlies’ player should, if any, in your mind, make the Western Conference All-Star squad?
A: Marc Gasol and Mike Conley have played well enough to garner All-Star consideration. Marc has won over fans beyond Memphis with his play. He seems poised to claim one of three frontcourt spots as a Western Conference starter. Conley has a tougher battle trying to distinguish himself in the West among the best guards the league has.
Q: Is Marc Gasol the best center in the NBA right now?
A: I believe Marc is the best center in the league. His impact on both ends of the court is outstanding but I think his ability to make other players better separates him from centers like Demarcus Cousins and Dwight Howard.
Q: If you could change things, would you rather the Grizzlies receive a lot of national attention or continue to fly under the radar as an underdog team?
A: I’m more concerned about winning. You can’t help but recognize a winner. Plus, the city and the team seem to thrive on being underrated, underestimated, and pushed to the side. I can’t explain it. We love having a chip on our shoulder. National attention makes us nervous.
Q: There are a lot of nicknames and popular phrases within Grizz Nation right now, including “Grindfather,” “Big Spain,” “Grit ‘n’ Grind,” “Grindhouse,” “Z-Bo,” among others. Which ones do you prefer or like the most?
A: That’s like asking which of your kids is your favorite. You know which one is your favorite but you don’t want to ruin the other kids by admitting your bias. I’ll say “Grindhouse.” The origin has a little mystery but the label couldn’t be more fitting for the style of hoops the team plays to the hostile crowd who chomps at the bit to chant “Whoop That Trick” when we beat the Clippers at home.
Q: Being in Memphis, of course there are plenty of music stars and celebrities. Justin Timberlake, a minority owner, attends some games from time to time. Occasionally, other celebrities such as Yo Gotti or Future sit courtside at Grizzlies’ games. As the voice of the Grizz, have you, too, become a “local celebrity?”
A: Ha! Yes I have. As the team became more popular in the city, my popularity grew as well. It’s hard to go to the movies or grocery store without someone trying to irritate my gruff vocal style. Social media has made me more visible to fans who don’t frequent the arena. I enjoy the attention most times. It’s cool to be associated with a team people love and to be recognized for good work. It can be convenient at times. I had a guy follow my family and me around the grocery store once because he thought I was the Grizzlies announcer but was too unsure to say hello like a non-creepy person. My wife was more than a little concerned. On the other hand local “celebrity” allowed me to help benefit many people and organizations like the Tennessee Clean Water Initiative, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis, United Way Mid South and others.
Rick Trotter is an active Twitter user, so you can follow him (@RickTrotter) if you please.