The Memphis Grizzlies have been a successful team this decade, but they’ve never made the NBA Finals. Despite that fact, the team still will retire the numbers of all the guys who got them to the playoffs anyway.
The Grizzlies announced Thursday that they’ll retire Tony Allen’s No. 9, a promise they made to power forward Zach Randolph before the regular season, too. Allen joined the New Orleans Pelicans on a one-year free-agent contract this offseason, while Randolph headed to the Sacramento Kings.
“Tony was a driving force behind the Grizzlies’ seven straight playoff appearances and he remains a beloved member of the Memphis community,” Grizzlies owner Robert J. Pera said in a statement. “Tony played with a level of passion that is unrivaled. He helped establish a Grizzlies culture focused on toughness and effort, and he challenged every player that put on Beale Street Blue to match his fiery intensity. On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank him for his incredible contributions to the Grizzlies and the unique way that he inspired the city of Memphis. We are proud that the Grindfather’s #9 jersey will hang in the rafters of FedExForum alongside Zach’s one day.”
The team also plans to retire Marc Gasol and Mike Conley’s numbers to honor the “Core Four” that led the Grizzlies to those seven consecutive playoff berths, but both still play for the team. In those seasons, Memphis made the Western Conference Finals once, exited in the second round twice and exited in the first round four times.
Allen will be back at FedExForum on Friday when the Pelicans and Grizzlies meet in their final preseason game.
Thumbnail photo via Sergio Estrada/USA TODAY Sports Images