Grizzlies fans head to FedEx Forum in downtown Memphis before a playoff game

Pelicans broadcaster roundtable: Favorite Southwest Division road trip

Friday: Media members from Southwest on their top division road trips
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Although being a member of the Southwest Division is anything but hospitable on the court – all five teams are 2019-20 playoff contenders, the NBA’s only division that can claim that – it does bring certain benefits away from basketball. When the New Orleans Pelicans make their traveling rounds each season, they’re guaranteed a total of exactly eight road games in Dallas, Houston, Memphis and San Antonio. It probably says something about the quality of those cities that when Pelicans TV and radio broadcasters were recently polled on their favorite Southwest destination, each of those four locations received at least one “vote.” Up next in Pelicans.com’s reoccurring series: New Orleans broadcasters on their favorite road trips among the rest of the NBA cities.

Based on the city, what’s your favorite Southwest Division road trip?

John DeShazier, Pelicans radio

Maybe because I was born and raised in a small town (Macon, Ga.), and consider New Orleans to be a small town (international and eclectic, but still a small, homey kind of place), I’m attracted to Memphis. I’m intrigued by the connection to the civil rights movement and the part that Memphis played in the country’s continued aspiration to equality. It’s sobering to know that it’s the city where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated. Tours of the Lorraine Motel/National Civil Rights Museum and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital are tours I can take EVERY TIME that I go to Memphis, and not get bored, and the blues scene is pretty special. I won’t deduct points for Beale Street (it ain’t Bourbon or the French Quarter, but what is?). Too, I’m Southern all the way, so I appreciate the soul food (people who see me understand that I appreciate all food, for that matter, but it doesn’t get better than Gus’s). I like the cozy feel of it.

Todd Graffagnini, Pelicans radio

My favorite might not be very popular to the masses, but to me it’s personal. It is definitely Houston. First and foremost, three of my brothers live there, so I am guaranteed to see family every time we go there, which is twice a year. I’ve probably spent more time in Houston over the years than any other city other than New Orleans, for work and personal reasons, so the geography of the city is second nature to me, and I really enjoy my morning walk around downtown, passing the Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park. The last reason are two restaurants that are go-to… Pappasito’s and Kenny and Ziggy’s. Can’t go wrong with either of those.

Jen Hale, Pelicans TV

Honestly, I like all the Southwest Division road trips because they’re fast – unlike so many of our road trips in the Western Conference! The Pelicans have some LONG treks since geographically they should probably be in the East, so any trip that allows more rest/recovery for our team is appreciated. However, in terms of cities and fun, I like the Dallas trips the best. Fox Sports New Orleans is headquartered out of Dallas, so it’s a great opportunity to see co-workers and our studio peeps. I love the live music scene in Dallas too: seems like you can always find a good show at The Kessler, the Granada Theater, Southside Ballroom or the Majestic Theater. Did I mention how fabulous the Mexican food is in Dallas too? 

Joel Meyers, Pelicans TV

San Antonio, partly because I did telecasts for the Spurs (for four seasons from 1999-2003) and won an NBA championship ring there in 2003. I still have great relationships with everyone in the organization there, including RC Buford and Gregg Popovich. Plus, there are so many little spots that we enjoy visiting in a city like that, such as Rosario’s for Mexican food. For people who like to walk around a city, it’s also a very user-friendly place.

Daniel Sallerson, Pelicans radio

Dallas is one of them, because I like the areas downtown and near the arena. There are a ton of restaurants and as someone who enjoys going to hockey games, I will always favor a city that has an NHL team. I went to a Dallas Stars game and the atmosphere was incredible. Memphis I love because has kind of a New Orleans feel, where you can walk around and get great food. The barbecue is some of the best in the country.

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