Grizzlies to retire Zach Randolph’s No. 50

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Zach Randolph came to Memphis with a reputation as an overpaid troublemaker.

He left as one of the greatest Grizzlies of all time and adored by local fans.

In Memphis, Randolph displayed a toughness that perfectly fit the city. He and Marc Gasol formed a bully-ball tandem that proudly stood opposed to the NBA’s small-ball trend. With Tony Allen and Mike Conley, they built Grit & Grind, the greatest era in team history. The Grizzlies upset the top-seeded Spurs in the 2011 first round and peaked with an appearance in the 2013 Western Conference finals.

Now, Randolph leaves for one final payday that Memphis appeared unwilling to offer – $24 million over two years from the desperate Kings.

But it seems the Grizzlies are trying to soften the blow of losing a local icon:

This honor is deserved, especially for a franchise formed in just 1995. It’s a little surprising to see the Grizzlies announce it so soon. Not only is Randolph not retired yet, he hasn’t even officially signed with Sacramento.

But it is nice to see this bittersweet turn at the end of an era.