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Grizzlies Lionel Hollins drops F-bomb on 17-year-old fans

Lionel Hollins

Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins watches his team during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Monday, Dec. 6, 2010, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)


NBA coaches get heckled all the time. Comes with the gig.

Like those rude people behind Lionel Hollins the other night in Memphis daring to question why the hometown coach was leaving Hasheem Thabeet in the game and not putting Zach Randolph back in.

According to a series of tweets from Chris Vernon of 730 AM Fox Sports Memphis (via CBS Facts and Rumors) Hollins turned and told those fans to “shut the f---- up.” When asked about it after the game he said it was just a bunch of “drunk unruly fans.”

Um, except that it was a bunch of sober 17-year-olds. Who are at a lot of games, some of them part of the family that has owned those six season seats since the team first came to Memphis.

And by the way, the kids were right — Randolph should have been back in.

Apparently the Grizzlies staff realized the mistake, went over to the youth, got cell phone numbers and offered all sorts of gear and goodies to make up for it.

My thought: Why is this getting to Hollins? NBA coaches hear crap from fans all the time, why did this particular stuff resonate and drive him to react? Because they were right and he knew it? Because the team is not playing up to expectations?

Need a thicker skin. Taking abuse just comes with leading an NBA team.