Mike Conley spent the first 12 seasons of his NBA career with the Memphis Grizzlies.
On Saturday, he took the court at FedEx Forum as a playoff opponent for the first time in his career. Lining up against his successor, Ja Morant, was an incredible experience for the former fourth-overall pick.
“It’s amazing to be playing against a guy like Ja, first off,” Conley said after the Jazz’s 121-111 Game 3 win, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “Just seeing a guy that’s so talented, he’s a young superstar in the league, wearing the jersey that I’m so used to wearing. Getting the cheers from the crowd that I’m so used to hearing. It’s surreal. It’s like full circle. You never thought that it would be this way. I never did, at least.
“It’s like sometimes you live long enough to become the villain, and I’ve become that for the Memphis Grizzlies now. Just got to take that in stride, continue to do what I do and have fun with that, have fun with the game.”
Conley was impressive in his return to Memphis, notching 27 points, six rebounds and eight assists in 36 minutes. He’s tallied 20-plus points in each of Utah’s three postseason games, leading the team to a 2-1 series lead on Saturday.
Morant was also impressive in Game 3, tallying 28 points, three rebounds and seven assists in 40 minutes. The 21-year-old is averaging 33.7 points per game in this series.
Game 4 between the two sides is scheduled for Monday night.