NBA Champion Gets Honest on Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant

The OKC Thunder had a great rivalry with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While the two teams haven't been as hostile in recent memory, the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder had one of the best rivalries of the 2010s. One Memphis Grizzlies legend and NBA champion opened up about the rivalry recently.

During an interview on the Forgotten Seasons podcast, Tony Allen touched on the Grizzlies' rivalry with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“Most definitely we considered it a rivalry,” Tony Allen said. “We always looked at them as they was in our way, we was in their way…I always looked at it like, ‘Yo, that’s the team to beat.’ And sure enough, they was. Those young superstars in Westbrook and Durant, you’ve seen what they’ve become over the years. I had huge respect for them always…I’ll never forget those battles. I respect them, and we definitely had some clashes.”

The Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder faced off in 2011, 2013, and 2014. In 2011, Memphis lost 4-3, in 2013 Memphis won 4-1, and in 2014 Memphis lost 4-3. Even though the Grizzlies lost two out of the three playoff series, they actually won more overall playoff games 10-9. To lose two series in a coinflip fashion was just heartbreaking for Memphis, but it only adds to the history of the rivalry.

What's even more amazing is that even though the Grit'N'Grind Grizzlies are completely gone, both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are still playing basketball at a high-level today.

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Farbod Esnaashari


12-year NBA veteran that's covered the league on Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Bleacher Report, and ESPN