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.