While it’s been nearly two decades since the Vancouver Grizzlies called Vancouver home, B.C. fans recall the short-lived legacy with pride. Of course, the team didn’t win very many games, but Vancouverites loved their Grizzlies, regardless.
So, when the Memphis Grizzlies announced that they were bringing the former Vancouver Grizzlies uniforms out for select games, not everyone was thrilled. Some people feel that the uniforms were meant for Vancouver alone, and Memphis doesn’t have a strong connection to the city.
Kat Jayme is a Vancouver Grizzlies superfan and director of the critically acclaimed documentary Finding Big Country. The documentary depicts her efforts to track down the forgotten legend ‘Big Country’ Bryant Reeves, who was also her childhood hero. The film screened at the Yorkton Film Festival.
Originally from Oklahoma, Reeves spent his entire career playing for the Vancouver Grizzles, but ended up becoming a scapegoat for much of the team’s shortcomings. He was also known for his involvement in the community, giving back to children and fans alike. When the team moved to Memphis in 2001, he retired from the sport with chronic back injuries.
Jayme’s documentary premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), swiftly selling out four screenings and winning the #mustseeBC and People’s Choice awards. In Yorkton, it won the Multicultural (30 Minutes and Over) and Documentary Point of View Golden Sheaf awards.
The Vancouver-based director reposted the Memphis Grizzlies recent #ThrowbackThursday to her Instagram account, along with a clip from her documentary, captioning, “Hey @memgrizz that looks oddly familiar…” The clips bear a striking resemblance, as they both start with a cassette being pushed into a VCR to watch Vancouver Grizzlies’ highlights.
“In terms of the video, I can’t say for sure.. but as the saying goes “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” Jayme told Vancouver Is Awesome.
“In terms of the jersey, I’m not a fan. I’m glad the grizzlies are part of the conversation but those are our VANCOUVER jerseys that were inspired by the land and the people. (The indigenous trim for example). I want to bring back the grizzlies back, too.”
As Jayme points out, the Vancouver Grizzlies’ uniforms were inspired by British Columbia and the people that reside there. And, as a short scroll through the comments on the Memphis Grizzlies’ latest posts will attest, many Vancouverites feel ripped off. Further, the word Vancouver never appears on any of these ‘throwback’ items.
The Memphis Grizzlies are set to don the ‘Vancouver-inspired’ uniforms for their 25th season this fall.