The Memphis Grizzlies will retire the jersey of fan favorite Tony Allen. Allen spent seven seasons with the Grizzlies during which he created one of the best environments in NBA basketball.
The FedExForum, dubbed the Grindhouse, will stand as one of the most challenging places to play. The Grizzlies, thanks to Allen, leaned on relentless defense to stifle their opponents.
The fans who filled the forum added an extra jolt to the experience.
Allen, known for his coining of the phrase “Grit-N-Grind,” was the driving force behind Memphis’ touted defenses. After winning a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008, the “Grindfather” arrived in Memphis in the summer of 2010, where they had a mostly successful run.
The now 35-year-old veteran challenged even the best of scorers as Allen brought his championship mentality to Tennessee.
Off the court, Allen was a staple in the Memphis community with his continuous charitable efforts. Robert Pera, controlling owner of the Grizzlies released a statement thanking Allen for his efforts.
“Tony was a driving force behind the Grizzlies’ seven straight playoff appearances, and he remains a beloved member of the Memphis community…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.”
Allen gave a rather moving response upon learning the news of his jersey retirement. In it, Allen says his only goal was to be known “as one of the greatest defenders to ever play the game.”
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 12, 2017
Allen has been a member of multiple All-Defense teams, making first team All-Defense three times. Allen signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans in July. The Grizzlies have already retired the jersey of Sacramento Kings forward Zach Randolph.