Trivia: Which 2 NBA Franchises Applied for Relocation to Memphis in 2001?
Market size matters in sports. It's why each of the 32 biggest media markets in the United States are home to at least one team in the four major professional leagues. It's why the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Cowboys, and other large-market teams sit atop the annual rankings of most valuable sports franchises.
Market size didn't matter in 2001...at least not enough to deter two NBA franchises from seeking relocation to what would be the league's small market, Memphis.
Do you know which two teams?
It's not a trick question; one team is obvious: The Vancouver Grizzlies wanted to move to Memphis. After passing on Louisville, Anaheim, and New Orleans, and flirting with several other cities, including Nashville, Grizzlies' owner Michael Heisley picked Memphis for relocation after six seasons in British Columbia. Heisley's relocation application was accepted and the Grizzlies moved immediately.
The other team: The Charlotte Hornets.
In the final weeks of the 2000-01 season, their 13th in Charlotte, the Hornets applied for relocation to Memphis. The application came as the team sought voter approval for a new $215-million downtown area (as part of a $345-million sports complex) and amidst reports of a potential team sale. A month after submitting the application, co-owners George Shinn and Ray Woolridge announced their intention to remain in Charlotte. And a month after that, the arena proposal was rejected, the biggest catalyst in pushing the Hornets to New Orleans the following year.