The Memphis Grizzlies have officially confirmed that Zach Randolph will be the first-ever jersey retired in their team’s history, with Tony Allen’s jersey retirement ceremony soon following. The celebration is set to take place on December 11, as the Grizzlies host the Rockets. Randolph donned the No. 50 jersey for 17 seasons and over 1100 games, despite playing for five different NBA franchises over his career that ultimately finished with the Sacramento Kings.
Randolph played in Memphis for eight seasons, between 2009 and 2017. He averaged a double-double of 16.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game during this period, seemingly defying the notion of being past his prime. He earned a pair of All-Star selections and even made an All-NBA Team with the Grizzlies.
The team achieved an impressive record of 373-267 with Randolph on the team, paving the way to seven consecutive playoff appearances and even a Western Conference Finals berth in 2013 after knocking off the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in five decisive games.
Grizzlies fans should be excited to have two pioneers of their infamous Grit-n’-Grind era forever enshrined in the rafters, as the relatively young franchise looks to take its first steps towards building a lasting legacy.
In some exciting news for a former member of the Sacramento Kings, Zach Randolph will be the first jersey retired in Memphis Grizzlies history.
Randolph’s time in Sacramento was admittedly less memorable, but still productive nonetheless. At 36-years-old, ZBo provided 14.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest in just 25 minutes a night.
This was the year De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic played out their rookie seasons with the Kings and was a clear shift in direction for Randolph who had grown used to playing for contending teams. Randolph somehow actually led this team in scoring despite having Fox, Bogdan, and Buddy Hield on the roster, which is a piece of trivia I seem to somehow have erased from my memory.
Speaking of rookies, Randolph likely could have potentially been a veteran mentor for Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles the following season, but he never got the chance. Randolph was shipped off to Dallas in a salary dump for Harrison Barnes, a move that looks better and better as time passes. On second thought, maybe Barnes has made for the veteran mentor figure in the end. Randolph’s lengthy record of drug possession and distribution could have indicated he had priorities in other places towards the twilight days of his time in the NBA.
Regardless, Randolph enjoyed a level of success very few will ever experience, and he can confidently say that even after 17 years of action he was good enough to have a place in the league—something that’s become increasingly rare in this day and age where youth is dominating the court. We Kings fans thank you ZBo for your time in Sacramento; congratulations on becoming a true NBA legend!