Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 5/30/13
While the Grizzlies were getting taken to the cleaners by the Spurs in the Western Conference finals, Memphis fans would get nervous whenever Gregg Popovich‘s squad made a big run or a momentum-shifting play. Normally, that would be completely understandable. Fans tend to tense up when their team is getting swept by a superior opponent in a late playoff series. As it turns out, these were no normal circumstances. In a headache-inducing path of logic, ESPN commentator Bill Simmons thinks Memphis fans are wired to expect bad things to happen because Martin Luther King Jr. was shot there on April 4, 1968. “I think, from people we talk to and stuff we’ve read, the shooting kind of sets the tone for how the city thinks about stuff,” Simmons said on the “BS Report” podcast, according to USA Today. “We were at Game 3. Great crowd. They fall behind and the whole crowd got tense. It was like, ‘Oh, no. Something bad is going to happen.’ And it starts from that shooting and it’s just that mindset they have.” Um … what? Listen, non-sports tragedies can and do impact the sports that are played not just in the cities in which they occur, but everywhere. The recent bombing at the Boston Marathon and the sense of togetherness that rose out of its aftermath is a case in point. Many of us will look back on Bruins fans singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the night we were most proud to be Bostonians. But when the  Bruins trailed the Maple Leafs by three goals in the third period of Game 7, we weren’t tense because somebody attacked the marathon weeks before. We’re more mature than that, and we suspect Memphians are, too. We can separate sports from real life (or death) and feel a different, lesser feeling of tension when our sports team isn’t doing so hot. It’s called compartmentalizing. We saw a lot of crazy Grizzlies fans during these playoffs, and we mean “crazy” as a compliment. But for all the fans with painted eyelids, we did not hear any of them react to the Spurs’ four-game sweep by lamenting, “Oh, no! First, Martin Luther King gets shot, and now this.” Grizzlies fans were nervous because the Spurs were a far better team, and they knew it. Let’s not try to make more out of that than the standard-issue fandom that it was.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Big Ten coaches opposed to 9-game conference schedule

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Hill arrested for reckless driving, clocked going 107 mph

Diamondbacks GM: Padres wanted Goldschmidt for Kimbrel

'Rowdy' Roddy Piper dead at 61


Mets acquire Yoenis Cespedes from Tigers

Sheldon Richardson escapes felony charges for recent arrest

Lawyer who litigated against NFL: Brady plays every game

Cowboys should sign interested RB Steven Jackson

Jameis Winston confirmed as Buccaneers starting QB

Russell Wilson contract increases likelihood of change

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

RB signed by Chiefs day after tweeting them highlight video

Evgeni Malkin had real penguins at his birthday party

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Jonathan Papelbon thinks he became ‘scapegoat’ for Phillies

Padres don’t sell at trade deadline, reportedly because AJ Preller still believes in team

First photos of Jason Pierre-Paul’s injured hand emerge

Stop kvetching about Notre Dame, please

Rebuttal banner supporting Tom Brady flies over Pats practice

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

LeSean McCoy cancels party, but it wasn't some 'weird orgy'

Redskins making huge mistake by signing Galette

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Cole Hamels chose Rangers over Astros

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker