Make no mistake, things are going to be different in Memphis under new coach Lionel Hollins (OK, not much different from the previous two times he coached the team). No more lollygagging, no more backsass, and no more free lunches. That last one’s not a turn of phrase: he’s really doing away with feeding his players.
(Grizz’s beer belly will soon be a thing of the past.)
Tucked at the bottom of this notebook column (where the good stuff always is) in the MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL is an item on Hollins stopping the team from providing players with breakfast and lunch before and after their off-day practices. And believe it or not, it’s not recession-related.
When the league minimum is nearly $450,000, and players receive an additional daily meal stipend that they couldn’t possibly spend, it’s tough to feel sorry for them for losing their buffet. But it’s not about money, according to the coach. It’s about maturity.
“They’re grown men,” Hollins said. “It’s not the team’s responsibility to treat them like kids.”
Obviously Hollins has more trust than I do in Marc Gasol to not subsist on a diet of cupcakes and soda.
But I can get solidly behind any move that opens of the possibility of Marko Jaric and Darko Milicic staring confusedly at a menu in a Denny’s in West Memphis.