Having heard of the reports out of Indiana and Vancouver I decided to do a little bit of digging around and found some former Grizzlies who were willing to comment on their days out here in Vancouver as NBA stars and the potential of another franchise existing in raincity. They were initially reluctant to comment on the dark days of their career, but when I reminded them that I was the only one who remembered their sorry contributions to the league, and that in fact they were the only days of their pitiful careers, they quickly reconsidered and supplied some insight as to how living and playing in the fairest NBA city (minus the rain) will be for the new Vancouver Pacers.
I began with the players who actually still have legitimate careers in the NBA, but Mike Bibby refused comment, and I didn't want to speak to Stromile Swift, so I had to dig a little deeper. I managed to find 5 players who had some sage advice for the new Vancouver Pacers.
I found Othella Harrington, as usual, training his Portuguese Water Dog "Little O" to do a variety of Harrington's special tricks, including how to play dead, roll over, and produce a shrill, annoying whine on demad. Othella says that this last trick is his specialty, but he can't understand why it hasn't translated to big business in the dog training communities.
OH: Ya man, at the dog shows an' shit, they don't do that one, even if it's part of a dog's abilities an' all, know what I'm sayin?
SF: It is a bit annoying.
OH: I guess so.
SF: So other than training Portuguese Water Dogs, what have you been up to in your retirement?
OH: ... Othella's not retired man.
SF: Oh that's right, you were playing in the D-league recently.
OH: Othella's rehabbing an injury. Othella will be back.
SF: Maybe you can play for one of your old teams?
OH: Othella is going to play for the Houston Rockets where he'll finish his career.
SF: I was thinking the new Vancouver Pacers organization, but maybe Houston's a better fit. You never liked the rain in Vancouver did you?
OH: Othella don't like rain. Little O don't like rain neither. But I'd play there again. That's where Othella had the best years of his career.
SF: That's true. You were also part of the city's worst trade in the history of their professional teams. You and Michael Dickerson came over from Houston for the number 2 overall pick, Steve Francis.
OH: Worst day of my life.
SF: And ours. So what do you think of the Pacers moving to Vancouver?
OH: It ain't gonna happen man. Reggie Miller won't let it. Spike Lee won't let it happen. Hell, even Little O won't let it happen, ain't that right Little O? Ohh yea! (allows dog to lick face)
SF: What if it does happen?
OH: If it do? Well, then maybe Othella will come back after all.
SF: As a support player?
OH: Nah. I'll do some coaching. Othella has a lot to give back to the NBA community. Lead a team to the promised land. Hey it's been nice talking with you, but Little O's gonna be late for his pedicure.
SF: One last thing. What's your prediction on this year's playoffs?
OH: Phoenix in 6, my man Shaq gonna dominate, and Twitter his every move.
SF: Um... nevermind.
I couldn't find Michael Dickerson at his old home, but I did find the home itself and the man who took over the lease agreement from Mike. He wished to be identified only as "Zeke" when asked his name, and he seemed out of touch with reality somewhat, but he did seem fairly lucid on the topic of Michael Dickerson. Here's what Zeke had to say.
SF: So this is Michael Dickerson's old place?
Z: Ya... ya...
SF: Did you draw this portrait of Michael Dickerson?
Z: No! No! That's from uh.... Tibet! Ya. Tibet.
Z: That's where Mike D went! Tibet! He went to see Swami Prabhupada in India.
SF: I thought you said Tibet?
Z: Same thing dude!
SF: Can you tell me something about Michael Dickerson's comeback with the Cavs?
Z: Oh... that's when I got this place. He seemed pretty positive, man. Like in awesome shape and everything. Mentioned something about playing with some big french dude. Can't remember his name. Le Manger or something.
SF: Lebron James?
Z: Nooo man. I'm pretty sure it was "Le Manger". Hey speaking of eating, do you have any food?
SF: I have a granola bar...
Z: I love those! (takes granola bar and eats it like an animal)
SF: So did Mike ever mention anything about playing in Vancouver?
Z: Vancouver? Oh! He loved it there man! Said it was full of Hari Krishnas and shit. He was into that freaky tambourine dancing stuff man. But it was good for him. Gave him some grounding. Everybody needs that. Hey do you have another granola bar?
SF: No I'm all out, sorry. So you figure he found some peace in Vancouver?
Z: Oh ya! He talked about it all the time! Said it was eye opening to see all these, like, people, and they kind of got along you know? White people and Chinese people, and Indians, like from India you know? I guess you guys have Indians too, you know like the native ones?
SF: Um, yes. We call them First Nations People.
Z: What? I doubt Mike Dickerson ever knew they were around.
SF: Well actually our original uniform had Haida inscription on the trims.
Z: Why would you hide the inscriptions?
SF: This is pointless.
Z: Hey man! Come back! I haven't told you about the time he taught me how to box blindfolded!
SF: Thanks for your time...
Catching up to the best player who ever played for the Grizzlies wasn't easy, given that he is a legitimate NBA coach now with the Sacramento Kings, or at least, he thinks so. Still, Sacramento Kings' head office finally tracked down his name on an old payroll, and realized he's changed his name from Shareef Abdur-Rahim to "coach Reef". With a shrug of the HR director's shoulders, she scrawled the address of Reef's downtown Sacramento office on the back of a McDonald's napkin, where he gave me an interview immediately, and also this picture of him gazing pensively into the distance while appearing coach-like.
SAH: Welcome to my office. Do you like my trophies?
SF: They all say high school MVP, for grade 8 through 12. Do you have any for your adult life?
SAH: Check this out. I won it at my wife's company bingo night.
SF: Most bingos in one night?
SAH: Hey that was a great challenge for me, but I'm glad I won that particular championship trophy. That's what winners do. We win.
SF: Right. So Reef let's...
SAH: Don't call me Reef! It's "Coach Reef" now.
SF: Coach Reef, okay. Coach Reef have you heard about the Pacers move to Vancouver? What are your thoughts on the franchise moving cities back to a place you used to call home.
SAH: For real? Well, it's a pretty beautiful city. I liked the mountains and everything, when you could see them.
SF: Do you still talk to any of your former Grizzly teammates?
SAH: Nah man. I think there's a curse on that city, personally. Your hockey team, what's it called? The Noocks?
SAH: Yeah! That's right. The Caynucks! They ain't had a championship ever right?
SAH: And your only NBA team was trashed every night until it ultimately packed its bags.
SF: Which you had nothing to do with, yes.
SAH: Then all the players from those days are nowhere to be found, except me of course.
SF: And Bibby.
SAH: Well, yeah, Bibs too, I guess, and Stro, but he don't count.
SAH: I think there's a curse.
SF: But a lot of former Grizz have ended up doing some pretty neat things. Lawrence Moten is coaching. Same with Roy Rogers, for the Nets. Mike Dickerson is living the Hari Krishna lifestyle. Byron Scott...
SAH: He's a Laker man, always will be. What about Country? You talked to him?
SF: Bryant Reeves? He's uhh, well.... you'll have to read my article. But anyway, I don't think we're cursed. The Canucks make the playoffs at least, which is still better than the Leafs, and we're getting a new NBA team.
SAH: But you're getting the Pacers!
SF: Hmmm. You might have a point. So anything you miss about Vancouver?
SAH: I miss Ramadan there?
SF: Why because we have many practitioners?
SAH: Ain't even. Dawn and dusk are about 4 hours apart up there.
I just happened to be in a sleazy bar down in beautiful Huntington Beach California when I noticed a monstrous 6'11" cast a shadow over the entire bar as he teetered on the brink of collapse before me. I offered him a seat immediately, thinking him to be one of the drunken bouncers, when I realized my luck. I had found the elusive Cherokee Parks without even trying. Below is an exert from this interview.
SF: Hey aren't
CP: WOOOOOOO (as he mauls me) !!!
SF: Cherokee Parks!
CP: Huh? You know who I am?
SF: Yeah, I'm from Vancouver!
CP: VANCOUVER!!!! WOOOOOOO!!!
SF: Did you enjoy Vancouver when you played there?
CP: I #$@en loved Vancouver Dude!
SF: So did you hear the Pacers are moving there?
CP: That's awesome! That means I can play again? I've never played for Indiana!
SF: Can you still play?
CP: What?! Watch this! (picks up my burger and mock shoots it into garbage can behind bar, then laughs at me)
SF: Nice shot. What do you think about the NBA right now?
CP: Those guys all suck! Seriously, if I were in my prime right now, I'd school all of those chumps!
SF: Aren't you, like, 30 years old?
CP: 30's not your prime man! I'm talking when I was like 20 something.
SF: Kobe's 30.
CP: Hey you want a drink? BARTENDER!! (orders strong drinks and puts it on my tab.)
SF: So you're here where it all began for you?
CP: Oh, yeah man. I'm just living out of my old man's place for now. It's a temporary situation until my sister's rock band goes big. I'm their manager.
SF: Is that her over there? She seems to be giving you the eye.
CP: Who Amber? No man, she's one of the locals. AMBER! How's it going girl! Come give daddy a hug.
SF: Can I take a picture of you too? That's perfect! Say cheese!
CP: (sits down again after spending some time with Amber) So what are you doing out here other than looking for former NBA stars?
SF: A little surfing, sightseeing, that kind of thing.
CP: Well, let me tell you something about Vancouver chicks. One thing that the new team will really appreciate.
SF: What's that?
CP: The women man. The women are such gold diggers out there, that they fall all over themselves trying to get an NBA %^$*. (Amber shoots him the stink eye). Okay man, nice talking to you... reliving the glory days. Gotta run. AMBER!
My efforts to find Big Country in Fort Smith Arkansas proved largely unsuccessful until a couple of elderly ladies were admiring a local art piece one day in an old Victorian style mansion which was converted into a brunch restaurant. I took interest in the sculpture because it was a remake of a Michelangelo sculpture, only it had undergone a few, modifications. Gone was the godlike body and powerful gaze into the distance. In their place was a perfect sculpture of a typical American commuter. The sculpture's name was "Homer" and the artist's name was Il Gran Paese, italian for, you guessed it, "Big Country". As it happened, the artist was coming in for a talk on his newest masterpiece, so I decided to wait until 4 O'clock when his fascinating lecture was over.
SF: Big Country! Can I get an interview about your playing days as a Grizzly?
BC: I'm sorry, but I no longer speak of those barbaric days of yore. And I prefer the title of Gran Paese henceforth.
SF: I don't remember you speaking like this...
GP: I have become enlightened dear fellow. Something I wish for all of the world to feel, but alas, it is not possible.
SF: Can you tell me about your basketball days? Did you know the Pacers are moving to Vancouver?
GP: If you persist in badgering me with irrelevant questions about silly sports, I am afraid I have no time for you. I am an artist now.
SF: Alright. (after several moments of observing his statue of "Homer". So tell me about Homer here...
GP: tsk. Well, you ignoramus, Homer is a dedication to the reality of life as Michelangelo would have had it today. His sculpture has undergone the necessary aspects of transfiguration according to the modern times.
SF: It looks like he's eaten too much fried chicken. This reminds me of a question I have about your playing days...
GP: I told you, I will not speak of the dark past.
SF: Right, Sorry. Do what else do you do?
GP: I do mostly sculpture, but I have dabbled in the recreation of classic art like Leonardo DaVinci's and Toulouse Lautrec's, but honestly their work is trivial compared to the great master Michelangelo and his sculpture.
SF: I have a portrait of Michael Dickerson if you want to recreate something from your past.... it's pretty good.
GP: I don't attempt any modern pieces, only the classics. (a slight hum in his pocket) Oh! that's my tea time appointment for 4:30, I really must be off!
SF: OK, but please, I came so far. Not even one comment about your Vancouver days?
GP: (sighs) Well, I suppose I could say one thing about it. I learned the world was much bigger than my limited scope in Arkansas, and was able to bring something of Vancouver's culture back here. Without such an invaluable experience, I doubt I would be as open to art and the spirit of intellectual beauty as I am today. Does that satisfy you?
SF: I'm from Vancouver. We'll even take the Pacers at this point if it means we get our NBA franchise back.
GP: (another sigh) May you become enlightened friend.