The “Grit and Grind” era in Memphis is over with Zach Randolph in Sacramento and Tony Allen unsigned but the mantra still lives on, at least in spirit.
How exactly did Grit and Grind start? Allen shed some light on how the motto started in the Basketball Hall of Fame’s “60 Days of Summer” program last Friday. He said it was a Feb. 8, 2011 game against the OKC Thunder.
“Rudy Gay said ‘I’m not playing this game, my toe hurts,’ I said, ‘your toe hurt? Your toe hurt? You just did a windmill dunk last night, your toe wasn’t …’ I said ‘Alright, your toe hurt.’…
“To make a long story short, we win, Y’all can YouTube this too, in case you think it’s fabricated. I was so upset with Rudy for not playing … I end up having 27 points, eight rebonds and like five steals. Mind you, I hadn’t played in 22-some-odd games, and this is to let you know how in shape I was. Durant had like 35, but they lost. When they gave me my interview, the first thing I said was, ‘It’s just all heart. Grit and grind.’ That’s how that phrase blossomed in Memphis. I was still upset. That was really a jab at Rudy Gay. But he’s my man today, I’ve forgiven him for that. But yeah, that’s where it started at in Memphis.”
Rudy Gay wasn’t amused.
Pot calling the kettle black pic.twitter.com/7Sw1kMJzL3
— Rudy Gay (@RudyGay) August 5, 2017
To be correct, Allen missed 10 games that year in January but was back with the team regularly at that point, including playing the night before against the Clippers.
Whatever the circumstance, that comment started a movement in Memphis, one that helped that team bond with the fan base. It was a great run, one it’s sad to see end.