Saturday, April 15, 2017

The South 2017: NBA Roadtrip wishlist

@30HomeGames goes South:
Memphis & Atlanta (April 23 21 - May 1)
I'm heading to the South for my first taste of Playoff basketball, hoping to catch two teams with sentimental connections.

Good news: I'm flying in to Memphis for the 2017 NBA postseason.
Bad news: I might not get to see my team play.

It was always going to be a Riverboat gamble. Threading the needle with work leave, I was securing travel plans before the Playoff schedule was released. Using last year's programme and comparable seedings as a rough guide, I took a chance. It turns out a previous season's calendar has no bearing on future schedules. Lesson learnt.
Memphis starts their series rematch with San Antonio on the opening day of the Postseason. Unlike last year, the first round games this season have a tighter turnaround. Arriving Stateside on the 9th day of the Playoffs, I narrowly miss the two guaranteed games at FedExForum. I'm left to pray that the series grits to a 6th game where it returns to Memphis. That would be a dream.
Mercifully I'm able to catch Game 4 in Atlanta versus the Wizards. My initiation into Playoff basketball.

This trip came about quite suddenly. A flash of inspiration had me scrambling for work leave and securing flights before the schedules had even been released. 30HomeGames will be at Game 4 in Atlanta and Memphis.

Believe Memphis
The Grizz are my team and Marc Gasol is my favourite player. There's uncertainty about how much longer the Core 4 of the Memphis will remain intact and the retirement of the ageless Vince Carter looms. 1st year Assistant Coach, Nick Van Exel is one of my all-time faves too. Having welcoming colleagues within the Grizzlies organization in 'The Basketball Physio's Dean & Dave gave me the impetus to make my Grindhouse pilgrimage sooner rather than later. I hope to connect with the Melbourne lads during my time in the Blues City.

True to Atlanta
Inspired by Outkast and Hawks basketball, my current rec ball team are the 'ATLiens'. We emerged as Champs in our maiden season and as an added surprise got major love from some of the ATL's biggest boosters. NBA Hang Time's Lang Whitaker and Sekou Smith are our 6th men from across the pond, complete with team jerseys. I'm not sure if either sportswriter will be returning home to cover Atlanta's games but it would be a treat to run into our ATLiens teammates.

Atlanta and Memphis rank 4 and 5 respectively on Jalen Rose's "Black Guy City" power rankings. Coupled with one of America's finest cities in Nashville, the trip is fixin' to be a blast. Truth be told, I'd also love to meet Harry the Hawk and Grizz, my two favorite mascots. Harry has the League's best Social Media game, whilst Grizz reps Memphis Wrestling.

My grand plan for the year had been Congo-Brazzaville for AfroBasket 2017. This completes my set, visiting each Continent for FIBA competition. I'd allocated most of my work leave and bankroll for that adventure in August. I had a feeling my 30HomeGames mission would never feel whole if I never watched my Grit-'N'-Grind Grizzlies in person thus my impromptu jaunt. It's a brief trip but I have my fingers crossed the Grizzlies will come through.

Greetings from Memphis, Tennessee
Millington Mayhem 4 "United We Stand" (Apr 29 at N-82 gymnasium)
Real South Wrestling Federation (Apr 29 at 3715 South Perkins suite 21)

Jerry Lawler's BBQ
_ King Jerry Lawler's Hall of Fame Bar & Grille
_ Grizzlies-branded court at 'Howze Park', Binghamton
_ Riverboat Gambling
Gus's World Famous Hot & Spicy Chicken
- Champagning and Campaigning in the NBA Cities: Western Conference

Memphis Grizzlies:
FedEx Forum
191 Beale Street Memphis,
Tennessee 38103

Game 3: Thursday Apr 20, 9:30pm
Game 4: Saturday Apr 22, 8pm
Game 6*: Thursday Apr 27 TBD

Greetings from Nashville, Tennessee
Freedom Pro Wrestling

Zanies (Gary Gulman, Apr 27-29)
Third Roast Comedy Club

_ 'Master of None' Hits and Misses

Greetings from Atlanta, Georgia
Relapse Theatre (Myq Kaplan, Apr 27)
Laughing Skull Lounge
Highwire Comedy Co.

_ Hawks-branded court at 'Welcome All Park', College Park
- Champagning and Campaigning in the NBA Cities: Eastern Conference

Atlanta Hawks:
Philips Arena
1 Philips Drive,
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Game 3: Saturday Apr 22, 5:30pm
Game 4: Monday Apr 24, 8pm
Game 6*: Friday Apr 28 TBD

Related posts:
- Jalen Rose's City Power Rankings aka Black Guy City Power Rankings
- 30 Home Games mission: Southwest Division map
- All posts on the Memphis Grizzlies