“They are who we thought they were,” “Playoffs?,” “I’m a man. I’m 40” and now “Take that for data.”
Fitzdale entrenched himself in coaching press conference lore following his team’s 96-82 Game 2 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, going off on the referees in a rant that immediately went viral. You can watch the full video at the top of this page. Here’s the complete transcript:
It’s unfortunate that I got a guy like Mike Conley, who in his whole career has got zero technical fouls and just cannot seem to get the proper respect from the officials that he deserves. It was a very poorly officiated basketball game. Zach Randolph, the most rugged guy in the game, has zero free throws, but somehow Kawhi Leonard had 19 free throws. First half, we shot 19 shots in the paint and we had six free throws. They shot 11 times in the paint and had 23 free throws. I’m not a numbers guy but that doesn’t seem to add up. Overall, 35 times we shot the ball in the paint, we had 15 free throws for the game. They shot 18 times in the paint and had 32 free throws. Kawhi shot more free throws than our whole team. Explain it to me. We don’t get the respect that these guys deserve because Mike Conley doesn’t go crazy, he has class, and he just plays the game. But I’m not going to let them treat us that way. You know, I know (Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich) has pedigree, and I’m a young rookie, but they not going to rook us. That’s unacceptable. That was unprofessional. My guys dug in that game and earned the right to be in that game, and they did not even give us a chance. Take that for data.
Soon after, the team had already made up shirts:
The NBA subsequently fined Fizdale $30,000 for his rant, but Mike Conley and the rest of the players have said they’ll pay it:
Fizdale and the Grizzlies return home for Game 3 against the Spurs on Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. ET.