Memphis Grizzlies Memorabilia Buying Guide

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The Memphis Grizzlies are one of the NBA’s most recent franchises, but they have already had some significant seasons and franchise-type players in their short history. The team had a somewhat tumultuous start, uprooting from its original home in Vancouver, Canada and resettling in Memphis six years after being established. Thus, Memphis Grizzlies memorabilia includes items that reflect the time the team spent in Vancouver in addition to the seasons played in Memphis.

The Grizzlies have built a loyal fanbase in the short time they have been in the Bluff City. One way that Grizzlies fans like to remember their favorite Grizzlies seasons and players is by collecting memorabilia. This guide describes the various types of Memphis Grizzlies memorabilia, including items that recall the team’s time in Vancouver. The team’s history is also detailed as a way of pointing to various seasons and players that Grizzlies fans choose to commemorate through memorabilia.

Team History

The Memphis Grizzlies are one of the NBA’s nascent teams, with the franchise being founded in Vancouver in 1995 as part of the league’s move into Canada (the Toronto Raptors were also established the same year). The Grizzlies spent six futile seasons in Vancouver before plummeting attendance following the strike-shortened 1998-99 season set the wheels in motion for the move to Memphis. American businessman Michael Heisley purchased the team in 2000 after an unsuccessful attempt to move the Grizzlies to St. Louis. The team then played one season in Vancouver under Heisley before the NBA approved a move to Memphis.

Following the tradition of other teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz, the team decided to keep its moniker even though it was not representative of any feature of its new home. Although the team’s name did not change after the move to Memphis, its fortunes quickly did. A couple of key draft choices, including that of Pau Gasol, and the handing of the reins to new general manager Jerry West in 2002 yielded the Grizzlies first playoff appearance following the 2003-04 regular season.

After three straight playoff appearances, the Grizzlies struggled again in 2006-07 due to an injury to Gasol, who was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers midway through the following season. Gasol had been the team’s biggest star in its brief history, and the trade signaled the beginning of a new era in Memphis. Although the Grizzlies struggled initially, their core of young talent, led by Rudy Gay, quickly developed and the team made it back to the playoffs following the 2010-11 season. The Grizzlies won the franchise’s first playoff series that year, defeating the Western Conference’s top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in six games, before bowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round. The Grizzlies followed up the 2010-11 campaign by posting the franchise’s best regular season winning percentage in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. Although the team lost its first round series to the Los Angeles Clippers, the season left Grizzlies fans a great deal to be optimistic about going forward.

Types of Memphis Grizzlies Memorabilia

The Memphis Grizzlies have had their ups and downs throughout their brief history and there are various types of memorabilia to help fans remember all of the franchise’s significant moments, such as the team’s first playoff appearance in 2004, and significant players, like the team’s first star, Shareef Abdur-Rahim. This kind of memorabilia includes publications, team schedules, ticket stubs, bobbleheads, trading cards, autographs, and game used memorabilia.

Publications

The table below describes the four different types of publications that serve as memorabilia.

Publication Type

Description

Media Guide

A media guide is a large publication that is filled with information about the team, including history, statistics, and player biographies. These are published by the franchise and they are designed to help journalists who cover the team.

Program

A program is a condensed version of a media guide. It contains the same type of information as a media guide, only less of it. It is published by the team and it is meant to help familiarize fans with the franchise and its players.

Magazine

A magazine is independently published and may cover a variety of subjects. Memorabilia collectors like to own magazine issues featuring their favorite teams and players.

Yearbook

A yearbook is a year-end franchise publication detailing a recently completed season. It gives a detailed summary of the season and the games played during it, including background information that helps to put the season into context.

Collectors enjoy owning all of these different types of publications as they help to chronicle the Memphis Grizzlies’ history.

Schedules

Schedules are published by the franchise before every season. They show all of the Grizzlies’ regular season games for an upcoming season, and they usually feature some kind of interesting art on the front, such as the portrait of a star player like Pau Gasol or Rudy Gay. A business also sponsors the publication of a schedule.

Ticket Stubs

Grizzlies memorabilia collectors also enjoy owning ticket stubs. These are the parts of tickets that fans hold after gaining admission into the arena for games. Ticket stubs help memorabilia collectors to remember significant games and seasons during the Grizzlies history. They can be collected as single ticket stubs or as a book of season tickets.

Bobbleheads

Bobblehead dolls are caricature figurines of players. They feature an oversized head that is loosely connected to the body and that shakes when lightly touched. Bobblehead dolls are popular with memorabilia collectors because they are innocent portrayals of athletes that help collectors feel a stronger connection to the initial passion they had as youths for Grizzlies players like Pau Gasol or Shane Battier and to their passion for sports in general.

Basketball Cards

Memorabilia collectors appreciate basketball cards because they help collectors to commemorate their favorite players. These cards are portraits of players at their best on the basketball court, executing a signature move or hitting a winning shot. Owning Shareef Abdur - Rahim basketball cards, for example, is a great way to remember the Grizzlies’ first star and collecting rookie cards helps Grizzlies fans to remember the high hopes they held for the team’s draft picks.

Autographs

Autographs are very popular among memorabilia collectors. It is somewhat of a rare feat to acquire the signature of a beloved player, and owning an autographed item can help fans to feel a stronger connection to the players that they admire. Grizzlies fans especially appreciate possessing the autograph of a star like Rudy Gay on items such as photos, trading cards, and basketballs.

Game Used Memorabilia

Even rarer than autographs and perhaps even more treasured among collectors is game used memorabilia. These are items that were actually used by players during games, such as jerseys and sneakers. Very few of these items circulate, so it is quite an accomplishment (and is the mark of a dedicated fan) to own a piece of game used memorabilia.

Where to Buy Memphis Grizzlies Memorabilia

There are various places to buy Memphis Grizzlies memorabilia. Sports hobby shops are a good place to start. These are brick and mortar stores that stock different kinds of memorabilia, though trading cards form the core of most of these shops’ businesses. While the owners of these hobby shops can be great sources of information and advice, their stocks may also be limited, especially when searching for memorabilia relating to a specific franchise.

Memorabilia collectors shows often have bigger stocks because they bring together memorabilia dealers and collectors from a wide geographic area. These shows are good places to network with many different dealers and collectors, to search their collections for Memphis Grizzlies memorabilia, and to make purchases from reputable sellers. Although these shows can be good sources for Memphis Grizzlies memorabilia, they do not happen often and the shows where high volume of Memphis Grizzlies memorabilia is traded may not be geographically convenient for some collectors.

Online stores represent one type of source that sells memorabilia around the clock and is convenient to buy from no matter where the collector is located. Online memorabilia shops carry large stocks of all types of memorabilia and many are easily searchable for Memphis Grizzlies memorabilia. Items can be shipped to a wide geographical area, making it convenient to buy from almost anywhere. Collectors do need to have a good idea of what they are looking for when they purchase memorabilia online though, because personalized advice is often absent from the online shopping experience.

How to Buy Memphis Grizzlies Memorabilia on eBay

eBay is a good online source for Memphis Grizzlies memorabilia. Go to eBay’s homepage to begin your search for Memphis Grizzlies memorabilia. From there, roll your mouse over the Collectibles and Art menu and select Sports Mem, Cards and Fan Shop from the menu that pops up. You can find publications, schedules, ticket stubs, and bobble heads by selecting the Vintage Sports Memorabilia option from the menu on the main Sports Mem, Cards and Fan Shop page, choosing the Basketball option from the Sport menu when you get the results, and then further filtering by Memphis Grizzlies and Vancouver Grizzlies under the Team-Basketball menu. You will then see links to publications, schedules, ticket stubs, and bobble heads.

Basketball cards, autographs, and game used memorabilia can also be found from the Sports Mem, Cards and Fan Shop page. For cards, roll your mouse over the Cards menu option and choose Basketball from the menu that pops up. You can then filter the results by Memphis Grizzlies and Vancouver Grizzlies by choosing these options from the Team menu.

For autographs, roll your mouse over the Autographs-Original option and choose Basketball - NBA from the menu that pops up. You can then search the results for Grizzlies players, such as Mike Conley or Zach Randolph. For game used memorabilia, roll your mouse over the Game Used Memorabilia option from the Sports Mem, Cards and Fan shop page and select Basketball - NBA from the menu that appears. You can then enter "Grizzlies" into the search bar to perform a search for all Memphis and Vancouver Grizzlies game used memorabilia.

Conclusion

Although the Memphis Grizzlies have a relatively brief history compared to some of the NBA’s more storied franchises, the team has had its share of memorable moments and star players. The Grizzlies’ short history is also interesting because it contains a move from being relatively unsuccessful in Vancouver, Canada to finding playoff success in Memphis within a handful of years of the franchise’s establishment. The Grizzlies first began to find success in Memphis and the loyal local fans fondly remember the run of playoff appearances the club had soon after getting settled in its new home. Players such as Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Rudy Gay have also been fan favorites over the years, leading the Grizzlies to success they had never before experienced.

Memorabilia such as team publications, ticket stubs, trading cards, and autographs help fans to remember those successful seasons and the players who helped to forge them. The Grizzlies have assisted in building a stronger community in Memphis just by their presence in the city, and collecting memorabilia not only helps fans remember the team’s brighter moments, but also the joy that they shared with other Grizzlies fans in those moments.

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