Evolution of Grizz Nation - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Evolution of Grizz Nation

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

If you were a little groggy Wednesday, it may be Grizzly Fever.

Fans stayed up late to watch the Grizzlies win decisively in Game 5 103-93 against the Los Angeles Clippers late Tuesday.

Grizzly Fever is sweeping the Mid-South with fans forking over cash for Game 6 tickets at the FedExForum, t-shirts, hats, and all sorts of Grizz paraphernalia to show their support for the Grizz.

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From billboards to mailboxes to even signs on church property, there's no escaping Memphis Grizzlies fever.

"It seems like everywhere you go, it's just Grizzlies, Grizzlies. Grit and grind," said Monica Pasley.

For those of who covered this team a few years ago we know the packed house and hoopla over the Memphis Grizzlies wasn't always there. The bliss over this basketball team was absent, just like fans, just a few years ago.

According to Grizzlies television play-by-play announcer, Pete Pranica, the evolution of the Grizzlies Nation started when Lionel Hollins took over as head coach, and with the addition of players Zach Randolph and Tony Allen.

From there it's blossomed into a blue-collar, all grit, all grind, hard-working team that reflects the very city the Grizzlies represent.

"These guys really live in the community," Pranica said. "They believe in the community and they believe in playing for the name across the shirt, not the name in the back. In order to be successful in any walk of life, whether you're a sports organization, a business organization or individual, you have to develop an identity and be true to it."

Because the Grizz have been true to their city fans are flocking to buy "True Blue" apparel. Of course, having the Clippers with their backs against the wall in the postseason doesn't hurt. The Grizzlies have a 3-2 series lead heading into Gam 6 Friday evening.

"We beat them last night in their house, now they have to beat us in our house!," said Wayne Perkins, who was behind the Boys in Beale Street Blue, even through the miserable losing seasons.

"You know, you've got the fans that come on when they're just winning and then you've got the dedicated Grizzlies!"

Pasley has no problems admitting she's hopped on the bandwagon. Her son, a loyal fan. helped recruit her to the Grizzlies bench.

The Grizzlies host the Clippers in a sold out Game 6 at The Forum. Tip-off is slated for 8:30 p.m.

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