The Grizzlies: Our finest humans, and also one bear

USA TODAY Sports

The Sports Illustrated article on the Grizzlies is great science, and deserves serious review.

The 2012-2013 Memphis Grizzlies are down two games to none to the San Antonio Spurs, and in danger of receding into the annals of the NBA's long history of fascinating, but not quite great basketball teams. Like an intrepid wildlife photographer documenting a vanishing species in the wild, Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated captured the Grizzlies in full rampage against the Oklahoma City Thunder. His work in the field is science; it deserves study, and careful appreciation.

A few things just need to be highlighted here before we move on to letting the Spurs, the Dad Squad of basketball teams, walk away with the Western Conference title.

1. Zach Randolph is planning to go to nude beaches in Spain. And purring about it, per Jenkins. If you hear about a man being mistaken for a bear on the beaches of Ibiza this summer, it will be Zach Randolph. Spectral horror novels will be written about that moment; women will become pregnant on sight, and conceive mighty children fed on grit, grind, and the finest jamon of the region.

2. He heard about them from Marc Gasol. This dramatically increases the chances that Marc Gasol has been on a beach naked at one point in his life, and you are picturing this. You are picturing this, and hopefully just seeing a giant clump of blurry pixels topped with Marc Gasol's head. If not, there is a bottle of scotch in your boss's office. Hit it right now, hit it hard, and do not ask permission or forgiveness.

3. Tony Allen walks into practice muttering Future lyrics and tearing open energy bars with his teeth. This is how I've always imagined Tony Allen doing everything, anyway: signing contracts with bite marks, driving by holding the steering wheel with his teeth, greeting family members with affectionate nibbles. It's just nice to have it confirmed.

4. The Cheesecake Factory would not exist without professional athletes. This isn't explicitly stated in the article. However, at least half of the Grizzlies' roster enjoys eating there, and this goes in the mounting pile of evidence that the restaurant survives exclusively off the $500 tabs of athletes in their early 20s with large contracts, huge appetites, and a firm definition of "one shovelful" as a proper serving size for food.

5. This:

Randolph provided the levity, glancing up at the arena's LED ribbon and noticing an ad for an upcoming concert. "Hey," he blurted, "Beyoncé is coming!"

BEYONCE OMG OMG OMG EVERYBODY RING THE ALARM BEEEYYYYY IS COMIN' TO MEMPHIS

[/Z-Bo does "Single Ladies" dance while Tony Allen gnaws on the backboard in frustration]

6. Zach Randolph uses rapper Yo Gotti's barber and has for a decade. No big deal, just Z-Bo flying a rapper's barber all over the country at great expense for at least five or six years because he can't go out on the court unless he feels right from looking right. Randolph stopped doing this when he was traded to Memphis, the home of the barber and his home shop. Penny Hardaway is the co-owner. THIS IS ALL SO MEMPHIS AS HELL. Barbecue sauce should be oozing from the USB port on your computer right now.

I didn't even mention ten percent of the Grizzlies greatness in the article. Read it. Appreciate it, and appreciate the Grizzlies for what they are: our nation's finest collection of human beings, and the grizzly bear walking on its hind legs named Zach Randolph who has stolen the hearts (and picnic baskets) of a nation.

P.S. Nekkid Z-Bo eatin' tapas on la playa. It's gonna happen, and it will be an international incident.

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