Tony Allen helped changed the culture and expectations during his seven years with the Memphis Grizzlies, so much so that the franchise has decided to retire his No. 9 jersey.
The team released a statement one day ahead of Allen's return to Memphis, when his new team, the New Orleans Pelicans, will play the Grizzlies in each team's preseason finale. The Grizzlies' statement included a note from owner Robert Pera, which read in part:
“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.”
Allen rated as one of the best defenders in the NBA during his tenure with the Grizzlies, and ranks second in franchise history with 796 steals, and sixth in games played with 462.
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