Basketball News: This season, two of Memphis’ most defining names from the ‘Grit and Grind’ era will have their jerseys hanging in the rafters, making them the first players in franchise history to do so.
The Memphis Grizzlies have announced that the first two jerseys in the franchise’s history would be retired, with ‘Grit and Grind’ period stars Zach Randolph and Tony Allen receiving the honour.
On Saturday, December 11 against the Houston Rockets, the team will retire Randolph’s number 50 jersey. On Friday, January 28, when the Memphis Grizzlies take on the Utah Jazz at the FedEx Forum, Allen’s number 9 will be added to the rafters.
9️⃣ x 5️⃣0️⃣ pic.twitter.com/didsRYV78B
— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) September 1, 2021
Allen reacted passionately when Grind City Media’s Chris Vernon delivered the announcement live to him, revealing that his jersey would be retired in front of former teammate Mike Conley Jr. and the Jazz.
He described it as “a dream come true.” “The whole process of bringing my swagger, demeanour, and confidence to work every day, as well as the grit and grind mentality here… It’s a true honour, and I’m grateful, very grateful.”
Jan 28th it’s lit! Seeing that #9 hanging up for life is my stamp that I handled my assignment! #GNG
— Tony Allen (@aa000G9) September 1, 2021
Conley, along with Randolph, a physical power forward, and Allen, a defensive specialist at the guard position, were key members of the ‘Grit and Grind’ period.
Between 2010 and 2017, the Grizzlies established themselves as one of the top teams in a packed Western Conference and a borderline title candidate thanks to Marc Gasol, who is now with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Memphis was given the nickname because of its rugged, physical style of play, which prioritised defence and scoring in the paint over the type of pace and space plays that were becoming more popular in the league at the time. The Grizzlies were consistently among the best teams in terms of thefts and points allowed, but they were among the worst in terms of tempo and three-pointers made.
‘Z-Bo’ Randolph averaged 16.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game over his eight years with the Grizzlies, earning All-Star honours twice in 2010 and 2013.
Allen, on the other hand, wasn’t much of a danger on offence but was still crucial to the Memphis identity. He was named to three All-Defensive First Teams and three All-Defensive Second Teams throughout his seven seasons with the team. His moniker, ‘The Grindfather,’ says it all.
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