It's hard to believe, but the NBA season is just around the corner. So come with us now as we present five tiny tidbits on each team, just to get you in the mood. Today we continue with the Southwest Division, so do us a favor and send your tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• 1. Schooled By Your Auntie. Lawrence Roberts is the nephew of broadcaster Robin Roberts, who is co-anchor of ABC's Good Morning America, and whose father was one of the Tuskegee Airmen World War II pilots. She attended Southeastern Louisiana University becoming school's third all-time leading scorer in basketball with 1,446 points, and grabbing 1,034 career rebounds.
• 2. Come Back, Shane! We Need You!. Shane Battier, possibly the most beloved 10 points/five rebounds per game player in NBA history, will be honored by the Grizzlies with a tribute poster on Nov. 7. Nicknamed Prime Minister, The Commercial Appeal ran a full-page farewell when Battier was traded to the Rockets in June of this year. Has a team ever honored an ex-player with a promotional item when that player has returned with a different team? — (Thanks to David Dunlap Jr.).
• 3. They Also Had The First Pop-Up Ad. First NBA team to have its own Web site? The Vancouver Grizzlies, in 1995, which was developed by then-Chief Information Officer Bob Kerstein. They were almost called The Mounties, by the way. That was the nickname on the team's original franchise application to the NBA, which they had to change because the government of Canada owned the trademark. The Vancouver Grizzlies and Charlotte Hornets both applied to relocate to Memphis on the same day, March 26, 2001; the Hornets lost out and moved to New Orleans.
• 4. Plus, He's Missing An "L" In His Name. Seven-foot center Pau Gasol was born in Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. His mother is a doctor, and his father is a nurse.
• 5. Another Bottle, On Me. Damon Stoudamire received both adulation and criticism for taking a drug test. After several marijuana-related incidents in recent years, Stoudamire entered rehab in 2003 and publicly swore off the drug. He then made an agreement with The Oregonian sports columnist John Canzano to take a unannounced urine test during any point in the 2003-2004 season. Canzano took him up on it midway through the season, appearing in the team locker room with a specimen bottle, Stoudamire complied, and an independent lab pronounced him clean. The NBA didn't like the whole idea, however.