NBA economics being what they are, Mike Conley inked the richest deal in League history this past summer, and immediately became a bulls-eye for criticism.
The Memphis Grizzlies’ point guard reads and hears the haters, but says he lets it all roll of his back.
— Mitch Lawrence (@Mitch_Lawrence) October 31, 2016
Opposing fans have been serenading the 29-year-old with derisive chants.
Per Sporting News:
“I told Mike after I congratulated him on the contract, “get on your knees and thank God you had the leverage to get this kind of money, and one other thing: You better put on a flak jacket,” (former coach Lionel) Hollins said. “I told Mike, from here on that’s a big target on your chest.”
During the Grizzlies loss (to the Knicks), as Conley sat on the bench during this restricted-minutes phase of his season — he’s still recovering from an Achilles tendon injury that ended his 2015-16 season — he was serenaded with chants of “overrated.” That’s tame compared to what he might face down the road when he goes into some of the toughest arenas in the NBA, which he lists as Golden State, Toronto and, it almost goes without saying, Philadelphia.
“It doesn’t bother me, at all,” he said. “It’s part of it. I’m in a blessed situation. When I hear the talk, when I look on my phone and see messages on Twitter about it, it really pushes me, to be honest. So I know it’s going to come. There’s gonna be a lot of talk about it all season, no question. But it’s already here. I almost look forward to playing on the road, for that very reason.”