In 1995, the Vancouver Grizzlies joined the NBA in a two-team expansion into Canada. The start for the Grizzlies was one filled with lessons on what is required in order to be successful in the NBA. Prior to their relocation to Memphis in 2001, the Grizzlies struggled but showed signs of improvement in their game. Their first home in Memphis was the Pyramid Arena from 2001—2004, then in 2004 they moved into their present home at the FedEx Forum.
With the move to Memphis came signs of how much of a powerhouse team, the Grizzlies can be. During their inaugural 2001–02 season, in a game against the Champion LA Lakers, the Grizzlies defeated the Lakers with a final score of 114 to 108. In the following season, the Grizzlies made their playoff debut. The Grizzlies continued to work hard at their game and made another trip to the playoffs in the 2004-2005 season. The playoff run did not slow down for the Grizzles as they once again made a return to the playoffs in the following year. Some of the most notable players in the history of the Grizzlies include Pau Gasol, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Mike Bibby, Rudy Gay, Shane Battier, and Zach Randolph. Although the Grizzlies have never made it to the Championship, they have the drive and the determination to get there in the future.
The FedEx Forum opened its doors in 2004 and became home to the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Memphis Grizzlies. When the FedEx Forum went with a theme of Memphis Music, they were following a trend in arena design, established by Conseco Fieldhouse. Throughout the Forum, visitors can find a wide array of different genres of music featured. Some of these areas include the Country, Rock ‘n’ Roll, a Gospel Zone, Soul and a Radio and Recording Zone. The Forum also has a seating capacity of over 18,000, has 27 courtside suites, 32 club suites, 4 party suites, and 80 club boxes. Another unique feature of the FedEx Forum is the shot clock units that are “see-through” allowing spectators in seats behind them to be able to watch the action without obstruction. Aside from the various suites and seating options, the FedEx Forum has a variety of restaurants that visitors can enjoy from the Lexus Lounge, Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, and the Opus Restaurant and the Blue Note Lounge.
The FedEx Forum, in addition to Grizzlies Basketball, has hosted a number of notable events in its history. Some of these events include the WWE’s Unforgiven in September 2007 Kid Rock plus Carrie Underwood and the PMG Clash of Legends in April of 2007. Since 2005, with the exception of 2010 and 2011, Conference USA’s men’s basketball tournament has been hosted at the Forum. The South Regional finals in the 2009 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament and one of the regional finals in the 2010 NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament were also held at the FedEx Forum.