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Grizzlies to retire Zach Randolph’s No. 50

Memphis Grizzlies v Sacramento Kings

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 29: Zach Randolph #50 of the Memphis Grizzlies waves to the crowd during a break in action against the Sacramento Kings on December 29, 2010 at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Zach Randolph

Rocky Widner

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.