On March 19, 2018, Zach Randolph played 15 minutes for the Sacramento Kings in their loss to the Detroit Pistons. He finished with eight points on 2-of-8 shooting, grabbed two rebounds and dished out three assists in what was a very forgettable performance at the time. Looking back now, however, it will go down as the last game Randolph ever played in the NBA.
Earlier in the week, Randolph made a comment to TMZ that he was no longer planning on making a comeback, and on Saturday morning, he released a statement on Twitter confirming his retirement from basketball.
Randolph’s full statement:
I gave this game my all, and it gave everything back and more. Basketball will always be a part of me. From Marion, to East Lansing, to Portland, NY, LA, Memphis, Sacramento and everyone in between — thank you all for an incredible journey. Special thank you to the Memphis Grizzlies and the entire city which I will forever call my home, my family for always supporting me — my mom, brother, and sisters for taking this journey with me, the Portland Trail Blazers for taking a chance on a young kid from Marion, Coach Moe Smedley, Coach Tom Izzo, Commissioners David Stern and Adam Silver for the opportunity, all the NBA organizations, front offices, staff, and every single teammate. To my agent Raymond Brothers — you’ve not only been my agent my whole career, you’ve been my big brother as well.
One love. Z-Bo.
The No. 19 overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, Randolph quickly became a fixture in that city on the at-times infamous Jail Blazers teams and won the Most Improved Player Award in 2004. From there he bounced around to the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers, and put up some very productive seasons. But it wasn’t until he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2010 that he really made his mark in the league.
He made his only two All-Star Games with the Grizzlies in 2010 and 2013, was selected to the All-NBA Third Team in 2011 and was instrumental in developing the team’s “Grit-n-Grind” culture. Along with the likes of Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Tony Allen, Randolph helped the Grizzlies become the toughest team in the league, and brought them plenty of success as well.
The Grizzlies made the playoffs in seven straight seasons while Randolph was there, and he not only helped them win their first series in franchise history in 2011, when they shocked the San Antonio Spurs as the No. 8 seed, but make the Western Conference finals in 2013.
In honor of his exploits with the team, and for what he meant to the city, the Grizzlies announced in 2017 that they’ll retire Randolph’s jersey. It’s a deserved honor for one of the most unique, and enjoyable players of his era.
Courtesy: CBS Sports