April 25, 2011
Some amazing news came out of the shootaround session before Monday night's pivotal Game 4 in the first-round Western Conference playoff series between the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs and the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. FOX Sports Memphis radio host Chris Vernon tweeted that Tony Allen(notes) — Memphis' starting shooting guard, defensive stalwart, grit/grind folk hero and unlikely spirit animal — had "a Grizzly shaved in the back of his head." Ten minutes after his initial tweet, Vernon stoked anticipation by tweeting that there would be "no pictures" because "Tony wants it to be a surprise when you see it."
Its appetite for weirdness whetted, an uber-geeked Internet basketball community waited with bated breath for photographic evidence of the cut to surface. Sadly, the national television unveiling never came to pass; about an hour before tipoff, Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix tweeted that Allen would be "sporting [a] freshly trimmed chin [and] head tonight." Sure enough, when he came out of the locker room, he did so without an ursine skull. Bummer Nation, Population: Us.
Calling Allen's decision a "travesty," Vernon broke from the guard's wishes and elected to share a picture on Twitter (via @curtis_givens). And holy crow, was it worth the wait:
I tend to agree with SB Nation's Andrew Sharp that the glitter for the Grizzly's eyes really takes things to another level, but don't sleep on the white outline to make the image pop out at the viewer. Or maybe we were supposed to read it as a chalk outline? So many potential layers!
No matter how we interpret the specifics of the logo, I think we all have the same reaction to Allen getting rid of it:
Bad decision. You blew it, man.