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The Memphis Grizzlies are a professional basketball team based in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. They are part of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Along with the Toronto Raptors, the Grizzlies were established in 1995 as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. The team originated that year in Vancouver, British Columbia and relocated to Memphis in 2001. The team's majority owner is Michael Heisley, who controls a 95% share of the franchise; the remaining 5% is controlled by several local owners, including AutoZone founder J. R. ("Pitt") Hyde, his wife Barbara Hyde, equity manager Staley Cates, and former NBA player and University of Memphis point guard Elliot Perry.

The Vancouver Grizzlies, along with the Toronto Raptors, entered the NBA as an expansion franchise in 1995. Both teams were the first NBA teams to play in Canada since the 1946–47 Toronto Huskies. The Grizzlies were originally supposed to be named the Vancouver Mounties, but were forced to find a new name due to objections from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They then decided to adopt the name "Grizzlies," after the grizzly bear, which is native to British Columbia. Like the Raptors, the Grizzlies paid homage to the sport's founder, Canadian American James Naismith, in their color scheme; one of their team colors was "Naismith blue." The Grizzlies were the first NBA team to have a website, which was created in 1995 by Bob Kerstein, Chief Information Officer of the Grizzlies at the time. The newly-built General Motors Place, shared with the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League (NHL), would serve as the Grizzlies' home arena for their entire stay in Vancouver.

The Grizzlies were initially composed of players taken from other teams via an expansion draft, together with the team's first draft pick, center Bryant Reeves. However, they were hampered by the NBA's decision to deny the Raptors and Grizzlies a shot at one of the top five picks in the draft. Although they won their first two games in franchise history, the Grizzlies finished with the worst win/loss record in the 1995–96 season, as is typical for an expansion team, and lost 23 straight games from February to April (setting an NBA single-season record now shared with the Denver Nuggets; the overall record of 24 is still held by the Cleveland Cavaliers). In 1996, the Grizzlies drafted Shareef Abdur-Rahim as the third overall pick. However, they continued to struggle and finished with the worst record in the league.

In 1997, the Grizzlies drafted Antonio Daniels with the fourth pick. Still, they finished in last place and repeated this feat again in the 1998–99 season, despite drafting guard Mike Bibby with the second overall pick in the NBA Draft. In the lockout-shortened season that followed, the Grizzlies would only win eight games. In the 1999 NBA Draft, the Grizzlies had the second overall pick again, and selected Steve Francis. Unfortunately, in what became a turning point for the franchise, Francis publicly announced that he did not want to play for the team, citing various reasons. He was heavily criticized for his antics, particularly in Vancouver, and he was subsequently traded to the Houston Rockets in a three-team, 11-player blockbuster deal.

After the NBA lockout, attendance at Grizzlies games began to drop slightly, and the team's owners, Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment (who also owned the Canucks), began to lose money. The NBA rejected an initial sale of the team to Bill Laurie (who at that time owned the St. Louis Blues of the NHL) after Laurie openly stated that he would move the team to St. Louis, Missouri. Businessman Michael Heisley then bought the team in 2000 with a promise to keep the Grizzlies in Vancouver. However, attendance at Grizzlies' home games dropped slightly in the 2000–01 season. Fan support increased after it was widely believed that the team would be moved before the next season. Currently (as of the 2009-10 season), Mike Bibby is the last remaining NBA player to play for the Grizzlies while still in Vancouver.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis_Grizzlies) www.nba.com