Memphis Grizzlies legend Zach Randolph's No. 50 jersey was retired on Dec. 11. This was done after the Grizzlies played host to the Houston Rockets in a Saturday night fixture at the FedEx Forum. The game ended with the Grizzlies claiming victory over the Rockets by a 7-point differential.
In the history of the franchise, Zach Randolph’s jersey is the first to be retired. In attendance for the jersey retirement ceremony was a very special guest in the person of Marc Gasol, a teammate and friend, who flew in from Spain to celebrate Z-Bo and his impact on the franchise.
Zach Randolph’s career in the NBA through a lens
A 20-year old Zach Randolph made his entry into the NBA as a first-round pick in the 2001 NBA draft. He was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers and was the 19th overall pick.
He made his debut in the NBA on Oct. 30, 2001, against the LA Lakers. He came off the bench and played a minute in the 4th quarter, and posted 1 point from the free-throw line while grabbing a rebound.
Although Zach Randolph had a slow start as his debut and sophomore seasons were not inspiring, he had a breakout in the 2003-04 season, finishing with an average of 20.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He led the Trail Blazers in points, field goals, 2-pointers, free throws and rebounds and won the Most Improved Player Award of the season.
After his breakout season, his career in the NBA took off as he became a regular starter for the franchise. He spent 6 seasons with the Trail Blazers before moving on to the New York Knicks and thereafter the LA Clippers.
After a brief stint with the Clippers, where he led the team in points, field goals and 2-pointers, he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. Zach Randolph made his mark in the NBA as a Grizzlies player and spent most of his career with the franchise.
In his debut season with the Grizzlies (2009-10), he put up a stellar performance, posting 20.8 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, which earned him his first All-Star selection for his impact on the team.
Aside from his first season with the Grizzlies, where the franchise didn't make it to the playoffs, he led them to the playoffs in all subsequent seasons. He earned himself another All-Star selection in the 2012-13 season. The 6-foot, 9-inch power forward was a force to reckon with under the rim as he led the league in offensive rebounds in 2010 and 2013.
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