It all started with a three-word tweet.
Memphis Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. couldn’t have known what he was starting when he tweeted “Strength in numbers” after a regular season win over the Golden State Warriors on March 28, what kind of fuel he was providing for an eventual NBA champion. But that’s how the great ones often work.
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Warriors star Klay Thompson revealed just how petty he could be in the immediate aftermath of his team’s championship-clinching Game 6 win over the Boston Celtics on Thursday. In a postgame interview, basically out of nowhere, Thompson started laying into Jackson with a ferocity you wouldn’t expect from a man who uttered the words “holy cannoli” on national television minutes earlier.
“‘Strength in numbers’ is alive and well. There was this one player who tweeted ‘strength in numbers’ after they beat us in the regular season and it pissed me off so much. I can’t wait to retweet that thing. Freaking bum. I had to watch that like, I’m just like ‘this freaking clown.’ You’re going to mock us? You ain’t ever been there before, bro. We’ve been there. We know what it takes. So to be here again? Hold that.”
“Twitter fingers, can you believe it? I got a memory like an elephant, I don’t forget, and there was a lot of people kicking us while we were down.”
It might also be worth noting that while the Grizzlies won that March 28 game in a 123-98 blowout to seal their status as the No. 2 seed in the West, the Warriors had Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green inactive, which makes Jackson’s tweet and everything that has since come of it even more hilarious.
The next day, Grizzlies star Ja Morant fired back as Jackson’s proxy by laughing at how the Warriors, fresh off a legacy-cementing fourth championship, opted to spend any time thinking about a Grizzlies team they beat in the Western Conference semifinals.
That basic “rent free” response was seemingly the end of it … until Green, not content with flaming only the Celtics and certain media members, decided to get involved more than 36 hours after Morant’s tweet.
Morant would only need one hour to respond.
He followed up his first tweet by putting the ball in the NBA’s court and requesting the league take the unusual step of letting the Grizzlies host a rematch against the Warriors for their Christmas game. No defending NBA champion has had to play on the road on Christmas since the 2013-14 Miami Heat.
You know who knows that the NBA defending champion typically plays at home on Christmas? The guy who has now won four NBA championships.
We had to know this kind of stuff was inevitable if the Warriors ever returned to the NBA mountaintop. Now we see just how long they can keep this going.