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Vancouver Sun: August 12th 1994

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  1.  Enough already -- it's a bear, okay, a bear. Excuse me, a Grizzly.
  2.  
  3. After months of overblown speculation, this city's National Basketball Association team finally has a name: the Vancouver Grizzlies.
  4.  
  5. It also has a face, and it doesn't look like Pooh, Yogi or Smokey. The logo features a rampaging bear -- sorry, Grizzly -- leaping forward, fangs and claws bared, its right paw clutching a basketball.
  6.  
  7. Hey, you couldn't very well have a bear rooting around for berries or scratching itself against some bark.
  8.  
  9. Colors in the logo are teal, brown and red or, in design-speak, Spirit Turquoise, B.C. Bronze and Canadian Red. It is trimmed with black, which in design-speak is still black.
  10.  
  11. The Vancouver Grizzlies begin play in the fall of 1995.
  12.  
  13. Thursday's slick announcement inside a native longhouse behind the UBC Museum of Anthropology coincided with a worldwide release of merchandise bearing the newest name and logo in pro sports.
  14.  
  15. ``We think it will become one of the best-selling sports logos that exist,'' NBA Properties, Inc. vice-president Robert Millman said inside the longhouse, which was crammed with dozens of media members and many more better-dressed guests. ``We think the logo and name will appeal to fans of all ages. We're really excited about its popularity and potential.''
  16.  
  17. You'd be excited, too, if you were part of a group whose licensed merchandise fetched about $2.8 billion US last year.
  18.  
  19. Grizzlies' general manager Stu Jackson had the honor of presenting the name to the free world, climaxing a program that included addresses by Musqueam Indian Band executive director Howard Grant, NBA Properties, Inc. president Rick Welts, Premier Mike Harcourt and Grizzlies' managing partner Arthur Griffiths.
  20.  
  21. Highlights of the impressive program were two video segments, the first a kind of a Sierra Club profile of The Grizzly Bear and the second a series of trash-talking NBA stars slagging Vancouver basketball. The latter clip ended with a bear roar and images of the Grizzlies' logo accompanied by the sort-of battle cry: ``Watch the fur fly starting October '95.''
  22.  
  23. ``The name. . . had to reflect the powerful nature of the team, the culture, geography and heritage of Western Canada and an indigenous species,'' Jackson said, leading up to the big announcement. ``It had to have a positive emotional appeal for our fans.
  24.  
  25. ``Drawing our inspiration from the grizzlies depicted on the totem poles, we decided to name our team the Vancouver Grizzlies. We have, in the Grizzlies, a name that will capture the imagination of our fans and inspire our team.''
  26.  
  27. That remains to be seen.
  28.  
  29. Griffiths said the team has just over 8,000 commitments for season tickets, although the ticket drive, supported by a recently-assembled sales department, will only now start in earnest.
  30.  
  31. The NBA requires the Grizzlies to sell 15,000 season tickets by the end of the year, although the quota is based on a revenue target that could be achieved even if the number of tickets sold is slightly below 15,000.
  32.  
  33. ``It was fun,'' Griffiths said of the name and logo selection process. ``And not only from our side, but the media had some fun.''
  34.  
  35. Some in the media had so much fun that last week many were duped into believing the team would be called the Ravens.
  36.  
  37. It became clear as this week progressed that Grizzlies was the name.
  38.  
  39. Griffiths said he received over 1,000 suggestions for a name, but his group settled on the idea of Grizzlies three or four weeks ago. Exhaustive copyright work remained, however, and Griffiths said the last legal hurdle was cleared only Wednesday night.
  40.  
  41. He said the name Grizzlies has been registered at one time or another in just about every country on Earth.
  42.  
  43. NBA merchandise man Millman said Grizzlies was tested on several focus groups.
  44.  
  45. ``The grizzly is the ultimate symbol of strength and endurance,'' Griffiths said. ``I think we captured that in our name and our logo. The grizzly inspires respect, power and fear. Our Grizzlies will do the same.''
  46.  
  47. Jackson, admitting that where he grew up ``we didn't even have grass'' let alone grizzly bears, said he will begin assembling his scouting staff before the start of the NBA season.
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