When thinking about the 20-year history of the Grizzlies franchise in Memphis, the most successful era was undeniably the “Grit-and-Grind” phase of the 2010s.
While the Grizzlies did have three playoff appearances in a row from 2004 to 2006, all three showings resulted in first-round exits. They went through a four-year playoff drought after those early exits, then players like Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Tony Allen, to name a few, changed the brand of Grizzlies basketball.
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Behind that foursome, Memphis shifted its approach to playing tough and physical on defense while sharing the wealth on offense. It made seven-consecutive playoff appearances from 2011 to 2017, going as far as the Western Conference Finals in 2013.
All four pillars of the “Grit-and-Grind” era have moved on to other stages in their careers, with Randolph and Allen retired, Gasol back in Spain and Conley still competing for the Utah Jazz.
The franchise is set to honor Allen with his jersey retirement later in the season, but during Saturday night’s contest against the Houston Rockets, Randolph got his flowers first.
Randolph was a two-time All-Star in Memphis, averaging 16.8 points and 10.2 rebounds over eight seasons. He etched his name all over the franchise’s all-time leaderboard, ranking in the top-five on a number of different categories.
The Grizzlies picked up a 113-106 win in his honor, and there were plenty of sights and sounds to take in along the way.
Sights and sounds: Zach Randolph’s Grizzlies jersey retirement
Before things got started, it was worth taking a look at his career highlight reel in Memphis.
There were plenty of Z-Bo jerseys in attendance and Jaren Jackson Jr. even walked through the pregame tunnel with his uniform handy.
The best surprise of the night: Gasol came all the way from Spain for the retirement ceremony of his bruising frontcourt mate.
Randolph’s former college head coach, the all-time great Tom Izzo, joined in on the shoutouts…
… as did Tennessee legend Peyton Manning and long-time rival Chris Paul, who had some battles with the Grizzlies when he was on the LA Clippers.
His former teammates Rudy Gay and Matt Barnes chimed in, as did other former opponents like Stephen Jackson.
He received a standing ovation from the FedEx Forum crowd, showered with “Z-Bo” chants.
And Dillon Brooks even dedicated the win to the man of the night after the game.
And the tribute video, narrated by Ice Cube, was perfectly done.
And finally, the moment of the night.