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Why 'Whoop That Trick' is the Memphis Grizzlies' rallying cry, explained

With the Memphis Grizzlies hoping to bounce back in the Western Conference semifinals after a Game 1 loss to the Golden State Warriors, there’s no doubt the FedExForum will be packed with Memphis fans ready to show up for their team and show out for everyone watching.

As with all NBA teams, Memphis fans cling to their own set of traditions and superstitions throughout the season — especially when they’re in the playoffs. But it’s safe to say nothing in the league compares to the Grizzlies’ most cherished custom: Thousands of fans routinely losing their damn minds to a song from a movie about a pimp/drug dealer chasing his dreams.

The chant allegedly started as "Whoop That Clip" (sort of).

It’s been nearly 10 years since the Los Angeles Clippers knocked the Grizzlies out of the 2012 NBA Playoffs and it’s not a stretch to say Memphis was out for vengeance when the two teams reunited in 2013.

The details here get a little fuzzy, but it was in Game 4 of that first-round series that someone had the idea to rally Memphis fans around a clever take on Al Kapone’s “Whoop That Trick” from the Oscar-winning Memphis-based film, Hustle & Flow. Though the song had been played in the FedEx Forum several times over the years, it was a classic tussle between Zach Randolph and Blake Griffin that reintroduced Kapone’s 2005 hit, and just like that, “Whoop That Clip” was born.

They played it again a week later when the Grizzlies took the series 4-2, their first time winning four consecutive postseason games, and the chant went Instagram-official.

But Memphis is Memphis and you can't stop us from being Memphis.

While it was arguably a more socially acceptable version of the lyrics, there were two issues with “Whoop That Clip” as a rallying cry:

  1. It only worked when Memphis played the Clippers.
  2. It is cruel and unusual to expect a room of Memphians to hear “Whoop That Trick” — or an Elvis song or B.B. King or anything from the Three 6 Mafia catalog — and not stick to the original version.

It’s possible the Grizzlies’ front office realized they had a powerful opportunity to have one of the best chants in the NBA and didn’t get in the way of what was good and right and inevitable. Or perhaps they knew they were seriously outnumbered by a fan base who doesn’t need any guidance on trolling or trash talk or Memphis’ prolific music culture.

Either way, a beautiful Bluff City tradition was born.

“It’s mind-blowing how ‘Whoop That Trick’ turned into this will-to-win motivation,” Kapone recently told Memphis news station ABC24.

“We are the underdogs, we’re always looked at as the underdogs, we’re David always going against Goliath, that song represents the underdog fight and we’re definitely here to be victorious.”

Go Grizz. Whoop ’em.

 

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