Behind Enemy Lines: A Grizzlies Fan at Staples Center
While the Grizzlies were in the process of dismantling the Clippers on their home court in Game 5, a few dedicated members of #GrizzNation were putting on for their city in the stands of Staples Center. One picture surfaced that told the story:
As the picture made the rounds on Twitter and Facebook, people tried to identify the fan in the hopes that he could receive the praise he deserves for his strong showing.
After a little digging, I am happy to report that I have tracked him down. Jeremy Carroll lives in Atascadero, California, a city of 29,000 located between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Despite being a Grizzlies fan since 2001, he has never been to Memphis for a game.
Jeremy and his girlfriend Kelli made the 200+ mile trek down to LA for one reason and one reason only – to root for the Grizzlies. I had a chance to talk with Jeremy this afternoon and this is what he had to say about his experience at Staples Center and his Grizzlies fandom:
(GG) So you don’t actually live in LA, right?
(JC) No. I live in Atascadero, California.
(GG) How far from Staples Center is that?
(JC) It is about a 4.5 hour drive.
(GG) Obviously you are a Grizzlies fan though. What is your connection to the team?
(JC) I was a big Jason Williams fan when he played for the Kings. When he got traded to Memphis I just fell in love with the team. Pau Gasol, Shane Battier, all those guys.
(GG) So you have been a Grizzlies fan just as long as folks in Memphis have been Grizzlies fans?
(GG) And I take it that was an old Jason Williams jersey you were wearing?
(GG) Do you go to many games at Staples Center?
(JC) This is probably the 7th game. I was at Game 2 last week, which was terrible. CP3 totally pushed off on that last shot. I was also at the game on opening night this season. I was there for a few games in last year’s playoffs too, including the Game 6 victory.
(GG) Tell me about your experience last night – how did the fans around you treat you?
(JC) Usually Clipper fans are pretty friendly – maybe from lack of playoff experience – but last night was pretty intense. They were doing some trash talking. The more knowledgeable fans around us were pretty cool though.
(GG) Did anyone get confrontational or angry with you?
(JC) There was one point where some girls tried to snatch our towels but I explained they were loaned to us and they left it alone.
(GG) What is your impression of Clippers fans generally?
(JC) They are spoiled brats. They definitely don’t deserve Chris Paul.
(GG) Is it true you can see their Lakers jersey under their Clipper tshirt?
(JC) Yes, definitely.
(GG) Speaking of which, did you see much Lakers gear at the game?
(JC) There is definitely a lot of Lakers gear. There were probably 7 or 8 guys near us wearing Lakers jersey.
(GG) Have you ever gotten a chance to see the Grizzlies play in Memphis?
(JC) No, I never have. We were going to come to a game this season but things didn’t work out.
(GG) Any chance you are going to be making the trip for Game 6?
(JC) Sadly, no. We will be watching though!
(GG) Have you seen the picture?
(JC) Yeah a buddy of mine took a video of it when he saw it on TV and sent it to me.
(GG) How did you come to have the “GRIT” towel for the game?
(JC) My girlfriend and I actually met a really cool Memphis fan in front of Staples before the game and the towel was loaned to us. You should definitely give a shout out to Jeff Norris (@JefferyNorris) for hooking us up!
(GG) I don’t know if you are aware, but there has been a search on Twitter to identify you. People wanted to make sure you get the praise you deserve for representing #GrizzNation like that. Are you on Twitter?
(JC) I am not. No Facebook or anything like that. Maybe this will be a good reason to start a Twitter account.
(GG) Who is your favorite current Grizzlies player?
(JC) Man, that is tough. Honestly, I like them all. All for different reasons though. I guess I would have to say Marc Gasol. I enjoy his style of basketball and his high basketball IQ. Tony’s ferocious defense too though. If I were going to buy one current player’s jersey, it would probably be Gasol.
(GG) Any advice for Grizzlies fans who make it to LA for a game in the future?
(JC) If you go to LA for a game, you need to hang out across the street at the JW Marriott – you get a chance to meet the players as they go out to get on the bus.
(GG) Anything else you want to share with #GrizzNation?
(JC) I was not as alone as it may appear. What you can’t see in the picture is my beautiful girlfriend Kelli wearing a Zach Randolph jersey. Unfortunately she is blocked by one of those obnoxious Chris Paul heads. It is definitely my fault she is a Grizzlies fan. She is especially a big fan of Conley.
(GG) Lastly: what is your prediction for Game 6?
(JC) We close it out at home. 96-89
There you have it, #GrizzNation. Jeremy Carroll – a Grizzlies fan in exile. Jeremy assured me that he would let me know if he creates a Twitter account. If he does, I will pass it along so that #GrizzNation can properly praise him for representing us at Staples Center. (UPDATE: Jeremy can now be found on Twitter @realestjremedy - go follow him!)
I would also like to thank Jeff Norris, not only for lending Jeremy the towel, but for helping me track him down.
Stay tuned over the next two days for more Grizzlies content from the team here at GrizzGrind.com and a preview of Friday’s Game 6. Until then…
Grind on, Memphis.