Saturday was a big day in the basketball world, and not because of the monumental moves made by the Los Angeles Clippers. When the clock struck noon on the east coast, all of those deals agreed to over the last few weeks were finally processed by the league, meaning players would officially head to their new homes.
One of the first moves that got processed was one of the hardest for a fan base to swallow, as the Memphis Grizzlies formally sent Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz. It was the end of an era in Memphis, both for Conley individually and for the Grit and Grind teams that endeared themselves to basketball fans with their hard-nosed style of play.
In a classy move, following the move becoming official, the Memphis Grizzlies announced that Conley’s number will one day be retired by the franchise.
“Mike Conley represented the Grizzlies and the City of Memphis with true heart and class during his 12 seasons,” Grizzlies owner Robert Pera said in a statement. “His talent, determination and resilience elevated our team to a perennial playoff contender, and his altruism and sportsmanship helped shape the community focused nature of our franchise. For his innumerable contributions on the court and in our community, Mike will always be a beloved Memphian. We are proud that Mike’s #11 jersey will one day be raised to the rafters in FedExForum.”
It’s a move that has become common by the organization, which has announced that it will retire the numbers of three other Grit and Grind stalwarts in due time: Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, and Zach Randolph. Hopefully the ceremony will involve all four numbers going up into the rafters at the same time, and if there’s any justice in the world, the Grizzlies will win the game where that ceremony happens, 84-79.