Local filmmaker delves into the demise of the Vancouver Grizzlies in latest doc

The Vancouver Grizzlies’ time in this city was short, but anything but sweet.

After six off-seasons, the franchise’s second owner, Michael Heisley, moved the team to Memphis, Tennessee for the 2001-02 NBA season.

It’s a move many Vancouver basketball fans have yet to get over.

“Everyone I talked to was still full of anger, bitterness and anguish,” said Vancouver filmmaker Kathleen Jayme.

Lingering anger is what inspired Jayme, a basketball super fanatic, to create the film. the grizzly trutha deeper look at what led to the demise of the Vancouver Grizzlies.

“As a filmmaker, when you see all these emotions that still linger over 20 years later, you know there’s something there,” Jayme told CTV News.

Jayme was just six years old when the team arrived in Vancouver in 1995.

“The Grizzlies came to town at that perfect time when I was starting to fall in love with the game,” he said.

The documentary is the fourth Jayme has made about Vancouver’s only NBA franchise.

Two were short-form, while in 2018 it premiered find a great countrythe story of once-promising Grizzlies center Bryant Reeves, whose career was cut short by numerous injuries.

The team’s attendance numbers started off strong, with over 17,000 fans attending home games, on average, during its inaugural season.

However, after finishing last in their division in all but one season, attendance dropped to just over 13,000 per game in the 2000–01 season, the team’s last in Vancouver.

Over the years, many have blamed the team’s departure on poor direction, management and, of course, the game.

However, there has perhaps never been a greater villain than Steve Francis.

In the 1999 NBA draft, the Grizzlies selected the highly touted guard from the University of Maryland with the second overall pick.

A player considered good enough to be a potential franchise savior, the American had no interest in playing in Canada and was traded to the Houston Rockets that summer without ever playing a game for the Grizzlies.

This week, however, Francis has made his long-awaited return to town for the film’s premiere.

“You’ll get to see who Steve Francis is, even 23 years later, and I guess some of the reasons Steve Francis didn’t want to come to Vancouver,” Francis said.

“One of the things I’ve loved most about this process is getting to know Steve Francis as a friend,” said Jayme. “I’m excited for Vancouver to hear his story, and maybe this can be a healing experience for the city of Vancouver and for Steve Francis.”

The film, which opens Saturday as part of the Vancouver International Film Festival, also stars Shareef Abdur Rahim, Stu Jackson, Mike Bibby and Bryant “Big Country” Reeves.

Saturday’s screening sold out, but another is planned for October 5 at the Center for the Performing Arts.

Jayme is hopeful that another big showing can help get Vancouver back on the NBA’s radar.

“This is history in the making,” he said. “This could be a great opportunity to show the NBA how much Vancouver loves the Grizzlies and how much we can support a team in the future.”

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