June 7, 2023

Steve Francis and Kat Jayme on the ‘Grizzlie Truth’

NBA All-Star Steve Francis experienced place the past—what took place his rookie 12 months just after remaining drafted by the Vancouver Grizzlies—behind him absolutely when he was all of a sudden approached by Kat Jayme, a filmmaker and longtime supporter, who was hoping to tell his story in a documentary that would uncover the truth behind what transpired to the franchise just before relocating to Memphis. Just after publicly expressing his sentiments about taking part in in Vancouver, adopted by a trade to Houston, Francis admits now in excess of Zoom that he didn’t even spend substantially awareness to the controversy throughout his entire NBA job. That is, until James boldly traveled all the way to a signing occasion in Houston just to fulfill him and ask if he could be a element of the film. That project would afterwards become, The Grizzlie Truth of the matter, which is now premiering at the Toronto Movie Festival. 


Jayme didn’t occur vacant handed, however. She’d introduced alongside a big poster of an animation of Francis on draft day putting on his Houston Rockets jersey with the Vancouver Grizzlies logo in the history. The gesture was adequate to impress the former No. 1 decide. 

“For someone to come to Houston, Toyota Heart, the place my encounter is planted all during the [arena], understanding how folks seemed at me in Vancouver, at that stage, I was stunned,” Francis says of assembly Jayme for the 1st time. He later adds: “I would have under no circumstances thought about coming [to Vancouver] if I wouldn’t have [met] Kat, but, you know, persons have different outcomes on people and the way that she arrived [to me] was incredibly respectful. That is what opened the doorway.” 

Jayme admits on the same Zoom get in touch with that she was anxious to even approach Francis in the very first position. She experienced a script organized, which she wrote down on her palms, and was pacing back and forth exterior of the arena though training how she was going to introduce herself, allow alone convince him to be a portion of the film. “Steve is part of the Vancouver Grizzlies’ historical past. And so, that was type of my pitch to him, like, You are a part of this tale. I am earning this film [and] I’d adore for you to be a part of it because we need to converse about what happened. I would appreciate for you to have your own voice in it for the reason that persons are gonna be talking about you.”

The pitch, and Jayme’s sincerity, worked. Not just Francis, but also convincing previous gamers, coaches and customers of the Vancouver Grizzlies organization to be interviewed for the movie. The result is a candid and fascinating investigation into the extensive misplaced history of the team, and ultimately what led to the franchise leaving Vancouver. 

To understand more about what went into filming The Grizzlie Reality, and the effect the movie has on retelling a piece of NBA heritage, SLAM caught up with Jayme and Francis although they were being in Vancouver advertising and marketing the movie. It was the 1st time Francis experienced been again there in more than 20 yrs. 

SLAM: When did you, Kat, first begin wondering about producing this movie? 

KAT JAYME: When I was in college, I went to film school, and I consider, you know, I was so into 30 for 30s and I was just like, I have the excellent story—the tale of the Vancouver Grizzlies. I consider each individual filmmaker has that a single story in their job that they want to inform and for me it was the story of Vancouver Grizzlies, predominantly because I knew my particular link to the team—I have pictures of me at game titles, I have footage, as you see in the film of me at online games, I have childhood drawings of the team, I have all these, like, all the toys. Documentaries that I love are types that have quite a few layers, and I just understood with the archival that I experienced, that it was the right story for me to tell.

SLAM: Which is wonderful, and for you, Steve, what was it like to have someone tell your tale? Were you anxious at all?

STEVE FRANCIS: Uh, mainly because the final image the Vancouver supporters experienced of me was at the [NBA] Draft [and] the hostility every time I played in this article, it sort of felt a small relieving to be equipped to discuss to somebody who desired to listen to my facet of the story and did not just set me in a box [about] what was reported about me in ‘99 right up until most likely this film.  I continue to get people from Vancouver that’ll say, “What are you doing in this article? We don’t like you.” But, I’ve been as a result of so significantly so that does not signify anything to me.

KJ: I sense like that’s gonna modify following people enjoy the movie.

SLAM: Steve, how did you get started to procedure every thing and the adversity you had to deal with and nevertheless go out there on the court just about every night?

SF: If you appear at my NBA job and the way I performed, it did not make a change what was stated about me. So, until eventually I retired and Kat introduced it again up, I in no way genuinely assumed about retouching on it. I [took] some photographs below and there, I couldn’t acquire photographs at the entire metropolis, but they consistently do it each time my name is stated, but, you know, it’s comprehensive circle like I was outlining before.

SLAM: On that observe, Kat, as a filmmaker did you come to feel a sense of obligation in telling not only Steve’s tale, but the full history of the franchise? How do you think Vancouver Grizzlies admirers will respond to this movie?

KJ: For the earlier 4 a long time, [I] have just been performing on this film nonstop. And so, clearly, there’s the nervousness that will come with sharing your operate, especially when it is this kind of a deeply particular story. We shared the movie with a couple die hard Grizzlie fans I know and the reaction, specifically soon after they’d [watched] Steve’s tale on display, it is been overwhelmingly constructive, and every person has just been like, Yeah, [I] can not hate on Steve any longer, Kat. So, which is been genuinely great and I wanted to make positive that we did some take a look at screenings with a several Grizzlies fans. 

I think it will not get a lot for [people’s] tune to alter. I imagine as before long as you observe the movie, you see Steve in a distinct light-weight and that light-weight is just as a human being. And I think ahead of in the ‘90s, we ended up just looking at him as an athlete. But of training course, these athletes and these persons who labored on these teams are individuals. They are human, way too, and I consider that’s a person of the matters that I’d love for folks to arrive absent with following seeing this movie.

SLAM: We will not spoil what happens in the film, but there’s definitely a fairly extraordinary instant of community and relationship throughout. Kat, as a longtime Vancouver Grizzlies fan, are you rocking with this year’s Memphis squad at all? Or are you strictly faithful to Vancouver?

KJ: I’m grateful for the friendships that this film has introduced about with Steve and with the admirers that I met when I was in Memphis. The thought of cheering for Memphis in advance of this film was just like a straight-up difficult go. Like, heck no. But now, you know, I’ve arrive to recognize that the Grizzlies, they are as a lot Memphis’ group as Vancouver’s crew. They’ve been in Memphis for 20 several years. That’s over double the time that we had them below in Vancouver. 

I assume a person of the messages that I hope that lovers get soon after watching this film is that it’s not like an us as opposed to them mentality. Antonio Braxton Jr. explained it perfectly in the job interview, Why just can’t we share the workforce? Why does this need to be Memphis as opposed to Vancouver? So, I think Vancouver admirers ought to be happy that the Grizzlies are even now alive nowadays and they’re doing nicely in Memphis and we experienced a hand in that. We are a section of that historical past as effectively.