Dillon Brooks, Grizzlies have become insufferable at record speed

Not even a year ago, hating the Grizzlies was strictly a pastime for Warriors fans. 

Now even the biggest light-years skeptic gets it. The catalyst for this shift isn’t hard to find, and it’s not the star player who was apparently flashing a gun on social media while shirtless at a strip club. It’s the loathsome Dillon Brooks.

Yes, young upstart teams can tend to talk a bit too much smack. Brooks has gone way beyond that.

He’s the guy who fractured Gary Payton II’s elbow last year with an ejection-worthy flagrant foul. He’s the guy who’s developed into a defensive irritant, a role that attracts haters like no other, who revels in going nose-to-nose with star players because he thinks it’s a sign he’s getting under their skin, and he’s the joint leader in technical fouls. He also got into it with Shannon Sharpe while the media personality was sitting courtside at a Lakers game. The fact that Brooks is almost the antithesis of a certified bucket-getter makes all of this that much more annoying.

His most recent beef is with Draymond Green. Brooks called Green overrated in an ESPN profile, Green blasted him as a “clown” on his podcast, and that brings us to Thursday night. The Grizzlies destroyed the Warriors, 131-110, and Brooks made sure to be annoying as hell during and after the game.

He literally got in Green’s face — well, more like his armpit. After a lazy turnover that got Brooks the ball, he drove past Green and scored a rather pedestrian layup. In celebration, he stood in Green’s way while the Dubs forward tried to bring the ball out of bounds, and the two engaged in a war of attrition using only their torsos to avoid any sort of penalty. (TNT announcer Kevin Harlan had several jokes about Green’s podcast.)

Naturally, this continued after the game. Brooks took shots at Green being a podcaster, proclaimed that he’s a better player than the Warriors veteran and called out Green for punching Jordan Poole before the start of the season. He did all of that with the most unbearable tone and vibe imaginable, sighing and proudly pointing out he’s not on social media.

“I ain’t out there getting into physical altercations with my teammates,” Brooks told reporters.

Fact check: 100% true. It was a direct response to Green insinuating that Brooks’ teammates don’t like playing with him. All Green could do in response was point at the calendar and note “anybody can win in March.” Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Brooks postgame without adding another reason to dislike the guy. He used a reasonable question about Memphis maybe needing more veteran leadership — again, the team’s best player is out because he was allegedly flashing a gun on his own Instagram at a strip club at 5 in the morning — to insult Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard.

At least the damage Brooks has done has been limited to the confines of a basketball court, even if that includes a broken bone and some bruised private parts. Ja Morant, the aforementioned gun-flasher, has also been accused of attacking two teenagers on at least two separate occasions. Maybe Morant is grateful to Brooks for taking some of the heat off him.

This beef — Green insists it’s not a “rivalry” — has been marinated by two guys with very similar recipes. The Warriors, as you might remember, had a very similar shift in public perception when their loudmouth defensive irritant brought national ire toward Golden State with his dirty play and constant smack talk. Brooks even borrowed and upgraded Green’s signature move: the completely gratuitous shot to the groin.

In last year’s playoffs, Memphis was an exciting new underdog led by this upcoming generation’s human highlight reel and a hard-nosed supporting cast. On the other side were the inevitable Warriors. Outside the Bay Area, it was easy to get behind new blood. Even this year, it should be a fun matchup, with contrasting styles and highly watchable stars. Instead, Green and Brooks have made themselves the main characters of whatever these two teams have going on. If they meet in the playoffs, the easiest thing to root for might be a Bane-style intervention.

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