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Tony Allen .

Watch: Tony Allen's emotional reaction after learning the Grizzlies will retire his jersey

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The Memphis Grizzlies lost two of their most influential players over the summer as Zach Randolph and Tony Allen departed in free agency.

The duo epitomised the 'Grit and Grind' basketball that the franchise has been associated with for a number of years.

They were the heart and soul of the Grizzlies during their time in Tennessee and it will see the team lose a real sense of its identity this season.

Randolph opted to sign for the Sacramento Kings this offseason and Allen was snapped up by the New Orleans Pelicans.

After Z-Bo's departure, Memphis quickly announced that they would retire his jersey and this week, the organisation confirmed that Allen will also be bestowed with the same honour.

"Tony was a driving force behind the Grizzlies' seven straight playoff appearances and he remains a beloved member of the Memphis community," owner Robert Pera said.

"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.

Memphis Grizzlies v Cleveland Cavaliers

"On behalf of the entire organisation, 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 number nine jersey will hang in the rafters of FedExForum alongside Zach’s one day."

Upon hearing the news, the 35-year-old had an emotional reaction and had words of gratitude for the team he spent seven years with.

"I was never doing it for no notoriety. I was never trying to be in your paper, your latest magazine. I was doing it just playing hard, playing the right way, trying to win, never cared about the fanciness, the All-Star games," Allen said.

"All I wanted to just be known for was to be one of the greatest defenders that ever played the game, and I just thank Memphis for allowing that opportunity."

The versatile veteran was certainly recognised as one of the league's most elite defenders as he was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team on six occasions.

Kobe Bryant also named his as the toughest defender he'd ever faced which is a huge compliment from one of the game's greatest ever players.

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers

The Chicago native also played an important role in winning an NBA championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008.

He will go down as a Grizzlies legend and deserves to be recognised for his efforts with the classy honour the team has in store for him.

Topics:
Southwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
Memphis Grizzlies
Marc Gasol
Zach Randolph
Tony Allen

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