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Nets coach Lionel Hollins compares Memphis to ‘the stone age’

Jul 16, 2014, 11:33 PM EDT

Lionel Hollins Lionel Hollins

Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins is blunt and honest.

That endears him to his players. It also contributed to the Grizzlies ousting him.

His style can cut both ways. (For the record, I love it.)

This time, it might lower his approval rating in Memphis.

Hollins in a video on the Nets team site (hat tip: NetsDaily):

I’ve been to New York many times. Having been in the league as long as I have – and even when I lived in Philly and when I lived, now, in Memphis – we would come up and go to a play or go to a musical and then go to dinner and hang out for two or three days. So, I’m pretty comfortable with New York. I just never thought I’d be living here. That’s the big shocker. It’s still surreal to believe that I’m in New York, and especially after being 12 years in Memphis. And Memphis is like, to compare it to New York, it’s like back in the stone age when you didn’t have electricity and stuff, but –  and that’s not a knock on Memphis as much as it’s just a contrast in how developed and how just unbelievably electric New York is versus Memphis. People are laid back. They move slow. They talk slow, and they drag their words out. And here, everybody talks so fast, and usually, you have to listen real hard and ask ‘em to say what they said again. And the pace is just so fast.

Hollins covers himself fairly well – trying to emphasize he meant no disrespect – but I’m sure not everyone, especially the fine folks of Memphis, will forgive him so easily.

In reality, Memphis and New York have different cultures. I bet a lot people in Memphis are proud their city differs so dramatically from New York, but they might not want to hear the differences framed quite that way, and I wouldn’t blame them for being agitated

At least Hollins got one thing right: He didn’t slight New York. Had he flipped the analogy to cast the Big Apple in a bad light, he really would have heard an uproar.

  1. mazblast - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    I’ve never lived in Memphis, but I spent three-plus…long…years in Oklahoma City a long time ago. In business meetings, I wasn’t sure if I was going to live long enough to see the end of some people’s sentences, let alone their presentations. I understand the difference between those cities, my Midwestern life now, and the pace of my native New York. Every one of them has its good and bad points. You just have to learn to live with the way life goes where you are–or get the heck out, as I did.

  2. Mr. Wright 212 - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:47 PM

    I could never live in the south for long periods.

    • apkyletexas - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:53 AM

      Look at Hollins – channeling his inner Andy Kaufman and his old “Memphis is a bunch of one-toothed neanderthals” bit. Impressive! What’s next? A wrestling match with Jerry Lawler?

      • bigmeechy74 - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        I’m from Hollywood!!!

    • ProBasketballPundit - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      I’m from Chicago but I’ve lived in charlotte for half my life now… and I agree. I wish I could go back to the Midwest but all my family has moved away and all my friends are here. So I’m stuck in this miserable heat with these country rubes…. guess I have to accept my fate… GO HORNETS!

      • junkmtb - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:04 AM

        ProBasketball whats country rubes?????? Please move back to Chicago, with their crime and shoot’em up gang banging lifestyle, your entire statement was completely ignorant!

      • philtration - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:57 PM

        You might want to compare the murder rate in Chicago to Houston, Dallas and just about every town in Alabama….

        You are much more likely to killed on the streets of those towns than in Chicago but go right ahead and ignore facts if that makes you feel better or if it is easier for you to follow.

    • longtallsam - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      Good for you. I bet there are a helluva lot more people moving south, than there are moving north. In fact, does anyone move north, except if that is where their job takes them. Ever hear of anyone retiring and moving north?

      I have traveled the entire country, and there are things to like in every state, but I sure wouldn’t want to live up north.

      • nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        Live in NYC and moving to Charoltte. I can’t wait to get out of NYC. Unless you are making a million a year your quality of life is average. There are many things I will miss but overall my quality of life will improve ten fold.

  3. urodaddy07 - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Making something out of nothing here

  4. adoombray - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    while the rest of us go fishing with our kids during the summertime, NBA and NFL press both go fishing for controversy. Which, I just encouraged cuz I clicked and commented. Man I hate the internet sometimes

  5. teabone413 - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    the is nba related how?? pbt writing about anything these days.

    • Unidentified_Flying_Stiviano - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:00 AM

      NBA related because he is the head coach of the Nets. That’s a pretty easy connection to make. Hope you didn’t miss that part. It’s a stretch for a story because it’s the slow season, but it’s NBA related even if loosely.

      • duhwighthoward - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:02 AM

        I like your name.

  6. csbanter - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:17 AM

    PBT like ESPN must fish for troll material now that NBA free agency is winding down as far as player movement. I’m off to PFT its about time for some football.

  7. campcouch - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:18 AM

    the local criminals run about the same pace in both places.

    • realfootballfan - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:35 AM

      Nah, Memphis is much worse, trust me. If the Nets were still in Newark that would only be true, lol. Memphis is one of the most gangsta cities in the country.

  8. realfootballfan - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:32 AM

    That’s not going to go over well at all.

  9. zoomy123 - Jul 17, 2014 at 4:51 AM

    Just about everyone around the world knows that the Southern United States is essentially a socio-cultural backwater. What Hollin’s said isn’t a surprise.

    • azarkhan - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:43 AM

      No, just arrogant, pompous a-holes like you say that.

      • zoomy123 - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:53 AM

        When the South elects people who think that Global Climate Change is a conspiracy, that think the Big Bang theory and evolution are lies “straight from the pit of hell,” write bills to make it legal to discriminate against LBGTQ people, etc. I think we can consider them a socio-cultural backwater.

      • chc4 - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        Zoomy you

      • chc4 - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        Zoomy you are an idiot. You are exactly what you slam southerners for…. judgemental, prejudicial jack wagon.

      • zoomy123 - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM


        I never slammed Southerners for being judgemental or prejudicial, if that’s all they were there would be no problem. New York is one of the most judgmental and prejudicial places in America; totally full of arrogant stuck up people. I’m slamming the South for being ignorant, stupid and discriminatory. The people in the South are wacko, loony toons. Just to give you an example, the Birther movement, you know, those people who claim Obama is really from Kenya and the newspaper announcement of his birth is a conspiracy…yeah, they’re almost exclusively from the South.

      • seansull83 - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        Zooms you are a moron, every place is full of loons. I am from the south, and I don’t think I am not cultured. I mean I see the stupidity in New York failed attempt to ban Large sodas because god forbid an adult isn’t capable of making his own beverage choices. Unlike you zoomy, I don’t judge a whole area on the actions of some. But you never read a news story about how awesome people are from the south, only the trash, so you my friend are ignorant.

    • longtallsam - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      An ignorant comment by you, zoomy.

      • zoomy123 - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        I know, it’s always considered rude to call stupid people stupid…

  10. titansbro - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    I’m a Nashville native, but Memphis is gross. There are cool parts, but mostly it sucks. I live in the northeast now & I can say this from personal experience, New York City is cool for a weekend. But I’d eventually kill someone if I had to live there long term.

  11. sportsfan18 - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    One would think a man of his age and experience wouldn’t feel the need to go here with what he said.

    He knows about the press, what they’re going to do with what he said, about sports websites etc…

    Was it really bad? No, it wasn’t obviously but it didn’t need to be said at all.

    He could have just said positive things about NYC, the electricity of the city, the vibe etc… without having to said what he did about Memphis.

    He could have said NYC is unlike anywhere else in the U.S.

    No, a man of his age and experience WANTED to say what he did about Memphis and that is what makes this newsworthy.

    It was an intentional dig by a man who has decades of experience in the league and who is 60 yrs old and knows how the game is played.

    I didn’t figure him to be the kind to say something like this.

    • duhwighthoward - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      The place where sportsfan is from should be exposed in the national limelight as a failed state for producing someone only capable of long winded ignorant diatribes.

  12. gmsalpha - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    What Hollins said is absolutely true. I imagine if he could have said it with different words, he would. Comparing Memphis and New York City is like comparing Los Angeles to Milwaukee or Chicago to San Antonio. But like someone said earlier, you either adapt to where you live, or you change where you live.

    And this is the time of year where I stop typing “probas” and start typing “profoo” in my address bar, so I don’t expect much interesting in the way of NBA news. This story is on par with my expectations.

  13. patsfan15 - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    Why turn those comments into an attack? Way to stir s($t up. Who can tell it’s the offseason ?

  14. chc4 - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    If a white coach said something like this about a city the media would jump all over him for being a racist.

    • junkmtb - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      No they wouldnt b/c Hollins didnt say black folk or white folks, he generalized it!

  15. junkmtb - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    Speaking slow is an issue but speaking so fast you have to ask them to repeat it isnt?????? Shows you the intellect of Hollins!!!!!

  16. ghelton03 - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Hollins was fired from Memphis because he was not able to shut-up and coach. He says that is what he plans to do in Brooklyn, but it doesn’t look that way. I don’t think he has learned anything.

  17. tangovader - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Players get crap for saying dumb or controversial things all the time. Coaches, execs and owners should be no exception. It was a classless move. He lived there long enough to know how it would be percieved, even if he meant it another way. The city didn’t decide to let him go. The organization did. He should be focusing on his new opportunity, not trashing his last one. Grow up.

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