Grizzlies pay tribute to Zach Randolph with open letters and retire his number
Tuesday marked an end of an era in Memphis, as Zach Randolph opted to sign with the Kings following eight seasons with the Grizzlies. On Thursday, the Griz paid tribute to the beloved power forward by announcing his No. 50 would be retired.
“Zach, you helped turn a lottery team into a perennial playoff contender,” team owner Robert Pera wrote in announcing the move. “You helped make a basketball team a model of community service. Thank you for all that you put into this community and this organization. #50 will never be worn by another member of the Memphis Grizzlies.”
General manager Chris Wallace and president of business operations Jason Wexler also wrote an open letter to Randolph describing him as “a proud civic leader and an extraordinary hands-on community benefactor.”
“Thank you for all the joy and magical moments too numerous to count,” the letter read in part. “Thank you for the energy and excitement you brought each and every night to FedExForum. Thank you for your leadership and service. Thank you for your larger than life impact and for keeping all Memphians warm. Thank you.”
Randolph joined the Grizzlies in the summer of 2009 in a trade with the Clippers. Memphis missed the playoffs in his first season but proceeded to qualify for the postseason in the next eight years. Randolph changed the reputation of the Grizzlies as much as his own. The former “JailBlazers” forward became one of the most respected veterans in the league and a fixture in the Memphis community.