The Grit N’ Grind era of Grizzlies basketball was the high point of the franchise’s history, as Memphis became a perennial playoff team and a thorn in the side of just about every opponent they faced in the postseason, win or lose. The Grizzlies were led by a quartet of players that defined that era, with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley as the stars, but equally important in creating a culture as well as producing on the court were Tony Allen and Zach Randolph.
Those two were the tone-setters, with Allen providing some of the best perimeter defense the NBA’s seen in the last two decades, and Randolph being the OG of the team, who in his prime was a walking double-double. It has been long acknowledged that those two will eventually see their jersey numbers hanging in the rafters of the FedEx Forum one day, but it’s been awhile since that was initially announced back in 2017.
Four-plus years later, that will happen in actuality as the team announced on Wednesday that on December 11 (against Houston) Zach Randolph’s No. 50 will go up in the rafters, followed by Tony Allen’s No. 9 on January 28 (against Utah and old friend Mike Conley).
Grit. Grind. Forever.
— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) September 1, 2021
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
It’s a fitting tribute to a pair of Memphis legends and they will surely be greeted with an overwhelming amount of love from the Grizzlies faithful on these two nights. To have Allen’s jersey retired with Conley in town will be very cool, as one day Conley and Gasol’s numbers will surely join them as the Core Four from the Grit N’ Grind era deservedly will be remembered forever for pushing the Grizzlies franchise to new heights.