Behind the Name
When the Grizzlies came into existence in Vancouver, British Columbia, prior to the 1995-96 season, the ownership group wanted a name symbolic of Vancouver and the entire province of British Columbia. After initially tabbing “Mounties” as the team’s name, a tribute to Canada’s iconic Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the franchise instead changed the name to “Grizzlies”. Grizzly bears are indigenous to British Columbia, and are a highly prominent icon both in northwestern native culture and Western Canada as a whole.
Behind The Name
But the franchise moved to Memphis, Tennessee is the summer of 2001, and after their inaugural year in the Mid-South explored the possibility of changing the team’s name to something that better reflected their new home.
However, when team management broached the issue with season ticket holders, fans and the business community, Memphis let them know in no uncertain terms that they had grown to embrace the name “Grizzlies”, despite there being no history of Grizzly bears in west Tennessee.
“We asked our fans if they wanted a new name, and they overwhelmingly told us how much they loved the name ‘Grizzlies’ and didn’t want to see a change,” said President of Business Operations Andy Dolich. “Our fans spoke, and we listened, and the name ‘Grizzlies’ will always be associated with professional basketball in Memphis.”
Although the name remained the same, the logo did not. The Grizzlies updated the team logo and colors before the 2004-05 season when they moved from The Pyramid to FedExForum. The new look represents strength, power and courage, character, tenacity and fearlessness. The base color of blue brings the identity to life (Memphis Midnight Blue, Beale Street Blue and Smoke Blue), as does the neon-inspired typeface of the city name. The intense gaze of the Grizzly represents a serious and competitive team, and the team added subtle references to the colors of Egyptian royalty (Grizzlies Gold). All elements of this new identity were put in place to represent the city of Memphis and the Grizzlies’ game.