For most of his career, not to mention his entire adult life, Mike Conley called Memphis home. He, along with teammates Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Tony Allen, were the soul of the Grit-n-Grind Grizzlies. At their best, they were one of the toughest teams to face in the postseason, despite never quite making their way into championship contention.
Regardless, the legacy they left behind in Memphis is undeniable, both on and off the court. Now, the young Grizzlies are looking toward the future with a fledgling star duo of Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., and on Friday night, they’ll host Conley and the new-look Jazz at the FedEx Forum in Memphis in what’s sure to be an emotional game in his first return since being traded to Utah over the summer.
It started with Conley making the rounds with the arena crew and old friends during shootarounds and continued with a raucous standing ovation when they announced his name in the starting lineup for the Jazz.
Memphis still loves Mike Conley ❤️ pic.twitter.com/stkUcnxsZy
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) November 16, 2019
— Jasen Lee (@JasenLee1) November 16, 2019
As expected, the Grizzlies also took the opportunity to pay homage to Conley with a video tribute that featured some of the best moments from his illustrious tenure in Memphis, from his rookie season to his unforgettable postseason performances.
The Mike Conley tribute video. pic.twitter.com/0fXQAyiQWg
— Mark King (@king_producer) November 16, 2019
It was enough to leave the former Grizzlies player in tears, along with the rest of us.
Mike Conley wipes tears from his eyes after his tribute video is shown. I promise you, Mike, we’re crying with you. pic.twitter.com/wAUHNj8Yz3
— Made in Memphis (@MadeinMemphis1) November 16, 2019
Conley and his former team are on very different trajectories these days, but the bond he forged with the city and the organization will keep them forever intertwined.