Flyer Flashback 

To mark the Flyer's 20th anniversary, we're looking back at stories from our first two decades.

In the issue that hit the streets in the second week of April 2001, the Flyer was concerned editorially with the uncertain future awaiting big-time basketball in Memphis. One more time for that French proverb: "The more things change, the more they remain the same." Indeed they do. It's eight years later, and the future awaiting big-time basketball in Memphis still consumes us.

Due to some miracle, John Calipari may yet walk on water down the Ohio River to its confluence with the Mississippi until he arrives back on our shores with a returning prodigal's smile. But, assuming that new Kentucky coach Calipari won't be around for much more than clearing up some loose ends, it's ime for a dose of reality in the manner of our editorial that week in 2001.

The issue back then was the proposed FedExForum and the deal being asked of the city and county to coax the NBA's Vancouver Grizzlies here. After grumbling that we wanted to see "the documents and the architectural studies" before abandoning the Pyramid for a massive financial effort elsewhere, we suggested that Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley spring for more of the package than he seemed wont to do.

Sensibly enough, we argued, "It appears to be a business where expenses and revenues are simply out of balance, and it would be foolish indeed for Memphis and the state of Tennessee to invest $250 million in such a venture without laying off some of the risk."

But what really made us seem like far-seeing sages was the question we raised in the editorial: "Where is the demand for the NBA? There has been no appreciable demonstration of public support. This deal looks strangely artificial, as though all the 'support' has been drummed up from public relations firms and people with a vested interest."

Jackson Baker


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