The Blazers were thoroughly outplayed on Sunday night in Memphis, but that’s not what anybody is talking about the next day. John Canzano of The Oregonian reports that their locker room at the Grizzlies’ FedEx Forum features a sign with a series of motivational message, including one truly bizarre one: “We don’t lose to Spanish players.”
The Blazers have a laminated motivational card affixed to the television monitor in the visiting locker room. It’s titled, “We are Rip City.” It lists all the ways in which the No. 4 seed Blazers will find a way to win this series against the No. 5 Grizzlies. It begins with “We will be tougher,” and ends with, “Staying together through adversity.” But the middle part is what has to alarm anyone following this matchup closely.
Because that middle section included such oddities as, “We don’t lose to Spanish players,” and “Nobody can beat us eight times in one year.” Also, it includes a vow to, “Win the dog fight,” and, “We will play as a team and outwork Memphis each and every night.” Also, “We are better when we come to play,” and a promise to be, “(Expletives) on defense.”
That’s a weirdly specific talking point, because the Blazers have had three Spanish players on their team, including one as recently as earlier this season in Victor Claver. It’s also inaccurate, because they did lose to a Spanish player last night, Marc Gasol.
For his part, Gasol said he doesn’t really care what the Blazers’ sign says. Per ESPN.com’s Baxter Holmes:
Gasol, who was born in Barcelona, responded to the comment Monday. “I don’t know where it comes from, and I don’t know what it means,” Gasol said after practice, according to The Oregonian. “I have better things to think about than what they’re writing on the wall. They’ve had Spanish players on their team in the past. I can think of three in the recent past. I don’t know and I don’t care.”
Blazers coach Terry Stotts also downplayed the sign.
“First of all, that wasn’t the only thing that was on that [card],” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said Monday, a day after his team’s 100-86 Game 1 loss to the Grizzlies.
“I wouldn’t classify that as the only message of the day. But that being said, it was a motivational thing, and I think the Spanish thing was a little lighthearted. It was the things we needed to do to win the series.”
One thing’s for sure: the Memphis fans should have some fun signs on Wednesday.