3 Reasons the Memphis Grizzlies Went Underappreciated in the 2000s

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Memphis Grizzlies Bonzi Wells

Memphis Grizzlies Bonzi Wells (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

As told by Bonzi Wells, here is why the Memphis Grizzlies did not make more noise than what they did in the 2000s.

When you think of the Memphis Grizzlies, one word that comes to mind is “underdog.” This perfectly describes the Grizzlies franchise through their entire existence, and not just the infamous “grit-‘n’-grind” Core Four era post-2010.

From the Vancouver days to the temporary move into the infamous Pyramid, there was not expectation from the Grizzlies. Then the team moved into FedEx Forum, now known as the Grindhouse. This decade, Memphis has become relevent in the NBA world, but it is due to overcoming incredible odds to defeat some of the NBA’s most popular squads.

The underdog theme remains consistent today as the Grizzlies have hit the reset button on their roster. Odds are against Memphis, but that is nothing new to them. If anything, it boosts their mentality as the Grizzlies prepare for a new season. They feed off of doubt and criticism.

Just ask Bonzi Wells, a member of the Grizzlies from late-2003 through 2005. He landed in Memphis upon the franchise’s first big push toward NBA relevancy. In fact, the Grizzlies were well on their way to becoming something big in the association. Had they not endured a few key roadblocks, their history could have been far different. The Core Four of Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, and Mike Conley would never have happened.

This should be mind-boggling because the Core Four is one of the few reasons why casual NBA fans know about the Grizzlies. It is hard to imagine a Grizzlies fandom without the Core Four. However, there was a squad brewing to be just as dangerous — if not more — a few years prior to the official “grit-‘n’-grind” Core Four era.

What held the Grizzlies back from achieving success earlier in the franchise’s lifetime? Bonzi Wells provided insight to Beale Street Bears on some of the hardships Memphis faced as they finally began to clinch playoff berths in the 2000s.

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