"SHAWN, WHERE’S THE TAPE?! SHOW THE WORLD THE TAPE, SHAWN."
March 8, 2018 12:47 PM   Subscribe

Steve Francis: I Got a Story to Tell: I damn near cried when I got taken by the Grizzlies at No. 2. I was not about to go up to freezing-ass Canada, so far away from my family, when they were about to move the franchise anyway. I’m sorry but … actually, I’m really not even sorry. Everybody sees the business of basketball now. That team was gone. The only thing I’m sorry about is that I went up there and gave probably the rudest press conference in NBA history before they traded me. [slPlayersTribune] [Previously]
posted by gladly (17 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
As someone who had no idea who Steve Francis was I can still recommend reading this. What a hell of a life story...
posted by Green With You at 1:11 PM on March 8 [8 favorites]


A few other good basketball stories from the same site:

Letter to My Younger Self -- Ray Allen
My Side of the Tracks -- Kenyon Martin
Making it Out -- Sugar Rodgers
posted by lkc at 1:20 PM on March 8


I was sorry when it ended. He needs to write a book.
posted by narancia at 1:28 PM on March 8 [6 favorites]


Jeez, I don't know anything about basketball and I was really moved by this. Thanks for the post!
posted by PandaMomentum at 2:33 PM on March 8


Man, as a kid who grew up living the mid-nineties Rockets... holy shit what a great story. (Lived in Takoma Park later too... this all was vivid to me.)
posted by Navelgazer at 2:46 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


I remember. Vancouver might be a hockey town, but the Canucks were playing so badly then that we were actually pretty thrilled to have the NBA coming to town as a distraction. It went sideways in a hurry. Terrible management, terrible ownership and Big Country Reeves, but nothing upset me more than that little mouthy prick Steve Francis trashing a town he knew nothing about. If this is what the NBA is about, I remember saying, then Memphis can have it. I suppose it helps, now, to know what he was having to deal with in life, but the whole Grizzlies thing was a disaster. I still can't watch an NBA game, and Steve Francis was part of the reason.
posted by cooper green at 2:48 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


I never thought I'd get to share my favorite Steve Francis anecdote, but here we are.

The relevant part of the story: He threatened he would start wearing a suit to games, because "this is obviously just a business."
posted by reenum at 3:18 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


I was not about to go up to freezing-ass Canada

Dude, it’s Vancouver; D.C.’s winters are colder!

(He’s right about everything else, though.)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:49 PM on March 8 [5 favorites]


Dude, it’s Vancouver; D.C.’s winters are colder!

(He’s right about everything else, though.)


This was part of the problem - the team, if it was well managed, would have sold themselves and their city to him. "Listen, we might draft you. Let's tell you about how great Vancouver is. And help you get your family up here too if you want." NBA guys LIKED Vancouver - they can actually afford property there, and you're right during the NBA season their weather is actually nicer than where Francis grew up. Shaq laments the fact that they don't have a team anymore whenever the city gets brought up.

The teams (both the Grizzlies and the Raptors) did such a bad job of setting expectations and helping players adjust to living north of the border.
posted by thecjm at 5:07 PM on March 8


As much as he was being ignorant about Vancouver, I think in the end it's a godsend that he ended up in Houston. He already was comfortable there due to his time at San Jacinto, and in a story about how direly he needed mentorship at that time in his life (the most telling detail to me is Georgetown turning him down because they'd just gotten through babysitting Allen Iverson and couldn't live through doing that again so soon) well, there's literally nobody in NBA history that could have been more suited to a mentor role than Hakeem Olajuwon. "Voice of God" is an understatement when it comes to Dream.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:16 PM on March 8 [4 favorites]


"NBA guys LIKED Vancouver - they can actually afford property there"

Umm, hasn't Vancouver been having hug price surges due to foreign "investor" demand? Plus NBA minimum I expect is enough for a house pretty much anywhere except maybe Manhattan and SF.
posted by billsaysthis at 5:22 PM on March 8


Vancouverite here -- the only people I recall being genuinely enthused about us getting an NBA franchise were a couple of extra tall guys I knew. I mean, basketball's a great game and all, and it's always been big in our high schools ... but this is not a basketball town. What it is, if you cold-heartedly crunch the numbers, is a loser's town when it comes to pro sports. So the Grizzlies actually fit in fine in that regard.

"NBA guys LIKED Vancouver - they can actually afford property there"

and ummm, no. Even millionaires can't afford property here.
posted by philip-random at 5:35 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Man, what a good read. I also had no idea who he was, but man can he tell a good story. What a life.

The little dialogues between him and Olajuwon were amazing.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 5:42 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


"the Canucks were playing so badly then that we were actually pretty thrilled to have the NBA coming to town as a distraction"

Huh? The Canucks made it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals the year before the Grizzlies debuted. They'd made the playoffs five years in a row at that point.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:57 PM on March 8


"The Canucks made it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals the year before the Grizzlies debuted."

That was 1994. By the time Steve Francis was drafted (1999), the Canucks had missed the playoffs 3 years in a row.
posted by cooper green at 6:12 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


The sportswriters were calling him The Franchise right up to the day they traded him for McGrady and they had Yao.

The quote from Thompson:

“Steve, we like you. We do. But I just had Allen Iverson. I can’t have you right after Allen. I just can’t have it, Steve. I’ll have a heart attack.”
posted by bukvich at 6:35 PM on March 8


four years before I was about to go play against Gary Payton — I was on the corner of Maple Ave in Takoma Park, Maryland, selling drugs outside the Chinese joint.

I know *exactly* where that is. For two years I lived maybe 200 yards from there. But the only place I ever Stevie was on the court at Maryland, where my GF went to college. Francis was amazing even then.
posted by martin q blank at 8:26 PM on March 8 [4 favorites]


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