The Memphis Grizzlies have released a formal statement regarding former swingman Tony Allen, who is now a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. Allen makes his return to Memphis on Friday evening when the Grizzlies host the Pelicans as a result of the team’s final preseason game.
“Tony was a driving force behind the Grizzlies’ seven straight playoff appearances and he remains a beloved member of the Memphis community,” said Grizzlies owner Robert J. Pera. “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.”
Known for his suffocating defense, Allen was a crucial member of the “Grit and Grind” era of Memphis basketball while serving as a fan favorite as well.
“Tony will forever be one of the Core Four responsible for the turnaround in the Memphis Grizzlies’ fortunes and our surge in popularity,” added Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace. “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.”
The Grizzlies originally signed Allen as a free agent in July 2010. However, he initially spent his first six NBA seasons with the Boston Celtics, winning a championship and making two NBA Finals appearances in all. Allen signed with the Pelicans just last month.