And after Game 2 in Memphis, Olshey gave the team the option to stay the night and fly home on the team charter, or return to Portland on their own. Take it for what it’s worth, but only one player wasn’t on the team charter: Aldridge. “I didn’t want to stay in that hotel one more night,” Aldridge said on Saturday. “So I bought my own ticket and flew home.” Having stayed in Memphis hotels, I don’t halfway blame Aldridge for wanting to get back to Portland as soon as possible. But it also doesn’t scream brotherhood, or togetherness, either.
Hours before his team executed a wire-to-wire annihilation in Sunday’s 100-84 Game 1 playoff victory against the Portland Trail Blazers, Gasol stood in a tunnel after the team’s morning shootaround and spoke of how far he’s come with the franchise he anchors. “When I first got here, this team was playing in the Pyramid,” Gasol told ESPN.com of the time he arrived as Pau’s 16-year-old younger brother. “They’re supposed to be turning that building into a Bass Pro Shops now. Can you believe it? I’ve been here when this team used to win 20 games, and I’ve been in the stands when they used to lose every game in the playoffs.”
Memphis came out of the gates strong and dominated the competition in the 10Best Readers’ Choice category of ‘Best NBA Destination.’ The Memphis Grizzlies make their home in FedEx Forum near Beale Street, and the lively nightlife in the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll adds to the overall fan experience. In a close race for the runner up spot were Oklahoma City (home of the Thunder) and Dallas (home of the Mavericks), but OKC came out ahead in the end. Denver and San Antonio rounded out the top 5.