D’Aulaires’ Book of Memphis Mythologies: The Slaying of Bryant Reeves

In the dawn of time, the court of the world was barren. And the barrenness had a name—Vancouver.

For untold ages nothing happened in the barrenness known as Vancouver. No fog. No fire. And no crackling embers. If anything existed, perhaps the only word to describe it was ice. And then the ice shattered into a thousand blades of yellow grass that became the Big Country and into the barrenness stepped the first giant, Bryant Reeves, with shards of ice protruding from his neck. An ice bear growled at his side, and they moved in the nothingness that was now both barren and big. They moved in the nothing space called Vancouver.


As they walked in circles through the nothingness, their path cut through it in a downwards spiral, and the spiral churned in the nothingness until the nothingness became an orange rim. And on the orange rim without a name they lived—the giant and the bear.  They slept. They churned. They slept. For a long time there was only Bryant Reeves and the bear.

Then amidst the long slumber of Bryant Reeves monstrous creatures grew between his toes and from the depths of his nostrils: Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Antonio Daniels, Mike Bibby, Steve Francis, Obinna Ekezie, and Stromile Swift. But none of these beasts were more monstrous than Bryant Reeves.

The bear, however, also produced life. The bear licked the shards of glass that still protruded Bryant Reeves’ neck from just after the dawn of time in the creation of the Big Country. The bear licked and licked the ice until the ice became salt, and from the salt and from the water and the mixing of the salt with the water and the water with the salt the bear’s tongue formed new creatures. Arms and legs appeared. Then came chests and shoulders. And then whole bodies. Three in total came into being. Three with the power to leave the barren pit called Vancouver forever, to escape its long hibernations and dull copulations.


But before Pau Gasol, Shane Battier, and Jason Williams could make their exodus, they had to slay the giant. Bryant Reeves had always been larger than life, but the melting of the shards had weakened him. From the wounds where cold ice once stood now flowed warm blood, his blood, and the giant moved slowly as his life flowed from him and the bear’s sons attacked.

They slew Bryant Reeves, and with his body—his flesh and his bones—they filled the barren pit of Vancouver, burying the place of their birth and the ghosts of his offspring. And on his skull they erected what would become known as the Grindhouse, but it was not called that yet—it was merely Memphis.

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