Grizzlies to retire Tony Allen’s No. 9

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Marc Gasol, sizing up last season why the Grizzlies must re-sign Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, said of the pair: “One is the president of Memphis. The other is mayor.”

Well, the Grizzlies let Randolph (Kings) and Allen (Pelicans) walk.

Now, the franchise trying to keep the bond, anyway.

Memphis already said it would retire Randolph’s No. 50. Now, Allen is getting similar treatment.

Grizzlies release:

Robert J. Pera: Controlling Owner, Memphis Grizzlies

“Tony was a driving force behind the Grizzlies’ seven straight playoff appearances and he remains a beloved member of the Memphis community. 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.”

Chris Wallace: General Manager, Memphis Grizzlies

“Tony will forever be one of the Core Four responsible for the turnaround in the Memphis Grizzlies’ fortunes and our surge in popularity. There would never have been seven straight years of playoff appearances, the incredible electricity in FedExForum for home games, ‘Grit and Grind’ and ‘Believe Memphis’ without Tony Allen’s contributions to the team.  In the process Tony became more than just one of the toughest defenders in the league – he became a true cult hero who was intertwined with the soul of Memphis like few athletes ever have in any city. Tony and his family will be missed but his impact on the Grizzlies and Memphis will never be forgotten.”

Allen was instrumental in creating the Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind persona. Not only did he coin the phrase, his toughness and defense embodied it. His seven years in Memphis coincided with the franchise’s best run – seven playoff appearances, including reaching the 2013 Western Conference finals and upsetting the No. 1-seeded Spurs in the 2011 first round.

The Grizzlies – who began as an expansion team in Vancouver in 1995 – have no numbers retired. In due time, they’ll honor this peak era. Gasol and Mike Conley, who still play in Memphis, will likely join Allen and Randolph with numbers in the rafters.