For eight seasons Zach Randolph went out and played with a “grit and grind” that defines the Memphis Grizzlies franchise to this day. During his eight years in Memphis he made two All-Star appearances and led the franchise to seven playoff appearances, defeating the top-seeded Spurs in the 2011 playoffs as the No. 8 seed.
After the game, @MacBo50 famously said he was a "blue collar player" in a "blue collar town" during a walk-off interview with @heydb. (3/3) #GrizzliesOTD pic.twitter.com/bQfVSvp3Zi
— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) April 29, 2021
For his hard work and dedication, the Grizzlies retired his No. 50 jersey. The move makes him the franchise’s first player to have his number retired.
Zach Randolph had his number retired by the @memgrizz tonight 🙌
Well deserved, Z-Bo. pic.twitter.com/ds9OzeKkvZ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 12, 2021
The trio of Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley Jr., helped define Memphis Grizzlies Basketball. They instilled a culture of toughness and, of course, “grit and grind.” Something you see with current Grizzlies players like Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke on a nightly basis.
Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, & Mike Conley react to defeating the league-leading Los Angeles Clippers! #Grizzlies #Big3 pic.twitter.com/VlWQy77uY4
— Grizzlies Nation (@GrizNationCP) November 17, 2016
Team Vows To Retire Uniform After 2017 Trade: No One Will Ever Don No. 50 Again
Randolph spent eight seasons (2009-2010 to 2016-2017) in Memphis until he was traded to the Sacramento Kings. It was a move to get younger and start a rebuild.
The Grizzlies front office is acknowledging his impact during what is now the Memphis Grizzlies glory days. The team issued a statement over the weekend:
“The eight years Zach spent in the mud, in Memphis is special. They are filled with franchise-defining basketball success, but they are so clearly about more than that. Every Memphis felt it and all of us believe it.”
“While there will be a time and place to recognize your lasting impact in Memphis, starting today, as stated earlier by Controlling Owner, Robert Pera, number 50 will never be worn by any member of the Memphis Grizzlies.”
While Z-Bo might not get into the Hall of Fame, his impact and presence in a Grizzlies uniform meant a lot to the Memphis organization and community. His effect there can’t be measured in wins and losses, as it was so much more than that with him.
That Time Came Saturday: 4 Years Later
Marc Gasol flew all the way in from Spain to support his former teammate in this historic moment. A kid that came from the mud, played in the mud and created a masterpiece of chemistry and synergy for a true contender.
Surprise Guest for the Evening All the Way from Spain pic.twitter.com/jgvGnCgOlS
— Jason Wexler (@MainStMemphis) December 12, 2021
Randolph played in an era where the power forward position was the most talented in the league. With Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Webber, Chris Bosh, and a whole host of others. And all he did was go out nightly hold his own against each and every last one of them without ever dunking the basketball.
📷: @memgrizz pic.twitter.com/geHu6YA5dm
— Michigan State Men's Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) December 12, 2021
Z-Bo Puts Checkered Past Behind Him For Newfound Success
Once you make a mistake and your skin is melanated, it’s harder to get a second chance. Even though you may turn over a new leaf, they will still bring that incident up if need be. But on the flip side, haters are quick to dismiss the good deeds of those same Black athletes in order to keep the criticisms going.
How about 2012 when Randolph’s name was tied up with some drug-related activities. That went silent only because Z-Bo had just donated $20,000 to pay the utility bills for a local Memphis-resident senior citizen. Even though nothing ever came of it, the situation only simmered down because of the money he shelled out to help the Memphis community.
Z-Bo was always underappreciated and not necessarily by teammates or ownership, but by the media. Just think, if he had had Duncan’s cerebral play or Dirk’s shooting and Webber’s captivating athleticism, he’d been an All-Star five times over. He was a workhorse who aged like fine wine and slowly earned the adulation of the fans.
The Grizzlies and Z-Bo are a feel-good story, and with Z-Bo’s retirment ceremony complete, look for Conley Jr. and Gasol to receive their day of honor as well.
More news from our partners:
Urban Meyer Circus Grows Old With Jacksonville Jaguars | He’s Lost The Locker Room & Confidence Of Franchise QB Trevor Lawrence
‘Please Help Me’: Black Election Worker Forced to Flee Her Home After Desperate Trump Supporters Threatened Her Over Bogus Election Tampering Claims