For Utah Jazz star Mike Conley, the statement “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain” rings so true. At least that’s what he felt when he visited FedeExForum to play his former team, the Memphis Grizzlies, in the first round of the playoffs.
After the Jazz survived an onslaught of cheers from the home team and a 28-point performance from Ja Morant, Conley spoke about the new Grizzlies star and what he felt in his return to Memphis for some postseason basketball.
Sure enough, Conley didn’t hold back and shared some emotional thoughts, looking back at his time with the team, the future that awaits them with Morant in the fold, and the atmosphere he experienced in Game 3.
“It’s amazing to be playing against a guy like Ja, first off. Just seeing a guy that’s so talented, he’s a young superstar in the league, wearing the jersey that I’m so used to wearing, getting the cheers from the crowd that I’m so used to hearing, it’s surreal,” the Jazz guard shared, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.
“It’s like full circle You never thought that it would be this way I never did at least. It’s like sometimes you live long enough to become the villain and I’ve become that for the Memphis Grizzlies now.”
It’s surely heartbreaking to see Mike Conley play for another team, and it’s even more painful that he’s doing so in the postseason against the Grizzlies. Several–if not all–Memphis fans want to see the veteran guard succeed in his chase for a ring, but it’s too difficult for them as they would also want Grind City to make a deep playoff run.
For what it’s worth, in Game 3 against the Grizzlies, Conley put up 27 points, six rebounds and eight assists for the Jazz in their 121-111 win
This tweet sums up what Grizzlies fans are probably feeling:
Son just got home from work…
Son: I know you’re going to tell me my team lost. But I already know. Me: No. I was going to tell you how well Conley playedSon: OKMe: So you’re turning on Conley now?Son: No. It’s disheartening that he’s not here. I just want my team to win.
— Ronald Tillery (@CAGrizBeat) May 30, 2021