Simmons: Grizz fans tense over MLK?

Sports fans’ collective temperament in a particular city is often thought to match the general vibe of the local populace.

Backers of Boston, New York or Philly are generally considered intense and confident/cocky, likely partly because of the big-city, hustle-and-bustle lifestyle. Midwest fans are thought to be among the most forgiving, a stereotype that stems from the strong family atmosphere throughout the region. West Coast fans get the reputation of being merely mildly interested, with outsiders believing warm weather and nice beaches soften sports sensibilities.

True or not, those are the perceptions. And then, there’s the take on Memphis fans by ESPN’s Bill Simmons that is raising eyebrows in social-media circles Thursday.

In a recent podcast, Simmons reportedly tied the supposed tension of Memphis Grizzlies fans during the NBA’s Western Conference finals to the fact that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in the city in 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 his “BS Report” podcast, USA Today reported. “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.”

Reaction online has been immediate and perplexed. Does Dallas feel the same because of JFK? Hmm . . .