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David Buckner to Step Down as Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Following 2139 Season

Started by GrizzliesGM, February 03, 2023, 11:59:08 am

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Press Release - Daily Memphis Grizzette

Breaking news out of Memphis today as Grizzlies franchise legend David Buckner has announced plans to retire following the upcoming 2139 season. Buckner, the 4th overall pick of the 2090 RBSL draft, started every last one of his 1449 games over an 18-year Hall of Fame career with the Grizzlies before taking the reins as head coach for another 32 years immediately thereafter. Described by many as the most significant player-franchise relationship of the modern era of the RBSL, the 49-year history of the Buckner-Memphis relationship to date has been more than adequately documented in both words and awards, but let's continue anyway. At a press conference yesterday, Buckner reminisced briefly before breaking still more news of his own:

"Forty-nine years ago, this franchise moved heaven and earth to take a chance on a 20 year old kid out of New York. With unwavering confidence they brought me in, sat me down, and told me I was the franchise. A rookie. I was just a kid. They told me they wanted my jersey in the rafters and my name in The Hall [of Fame]. They called me "The Chosen One" before I even stepped foot on the court as a pro. I went home that day so nervous I threw up. What did I know? What was special about me? I'll never know what it was they saw in me. All I did was try to work hard, treat people right, and do my job like a professional. We started from nothing, and now here I am, nearly 70 years old having spent almost 50 seasons trying to pay back that investment they made in me, in my life, and in my future. This coming season will be my last as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies family. Lee [Warnke] will be joining me on the bench for the year before filling the shoes himself next season. He's the greatest in the history of the league at putting other players in a position to succeed, and I can't wait to see him do it from the sidelines for decades to come. We couldn't be in better hands."

Though he was never able to reach the mountaintop as a player, David Buckner started his tenure as Memphis Grizzlies head coach in 2108 to immediate, eye-popping success, earning 7 consecutive Coach of the Year awards while posting 9 straight seasons of 62 or more wins and 4 RBSL Championships before the end of his first decade. The hits just kept coming. 32 seasons later, the final tally shows the resume of the greatest coach in RBSL history with 22 seasons of 60+ wins, 14 Coach of the Year Awards, and 9 RBSL Championships. Lee Warnke, though, has been no slouch of his own, playing under Buckner for the last 14 seasons and winning 5 of those titles himself. The helpful-to-a-fault future coach, however, was unable to be reached for comment as he was, by his own description, "Busy helping my cousin's friend's sister's friend move into their new home. Moving is a stressful experience. I'm just trying to help some nice people out any way I can." We can't even be mad. It's just classic Lee. Official comment from the Memphis front office included the following:

"Of all of the truly great players to walk through these doors in the last 50 years- Winston Stitches, Evan Hatzis, Bryan Arroyo, and so many others- none of them have had the same impact on this Grizzlies franchise and the city of Memphis that David Buckner has. His leadership on and off the court has defined Memphis over the course of this half-century relationship. The statue out front and the jersey in the rafters simply don't tell the story. We are proud to announce that from this day forward, our home court will be called David Buckner Court, and we cannot wait for the festivities to celebrate his career over the course of this, his 50th season. We look forward to his having more time to spend with Duncan, Diesel, and the rest of the Buckner family. He is the consummate professional. There will never be another David Buckner."

Coach Buckner and franchise management both noted flexibility in timing should one party feel the need to make the coaching change any earlier or later; but after discussion among team owner Carson Odom, GM Adam, and Buckner himself, it was agreed that 50 years for this #50 sounded juuuust right to those three bears.
Grizzly Adam, est. 2088
9x RBSL Champion: 2110, 11, 13, 14, 25, 26, 27, 30, 35
Host of UNM, Jersey Retirement Curator, Newbie Guide Maker, and I guess Ass Commish too
18x COTY 97-98, 02-03, 10-16, 25, 27, 31-33, 36-37