Zach Randolph Showing Why Grizzlies Should Keep Him Until Retirement

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Zach Randolph Showing Why Grizzlies Should Keep Him Until Retirement

Zach Randolph is in his 13th season in the NBA and his fifth with the Memphis Grizzlies. He’d like to stay a while longer, like until he retires.

In a recent article for ESPN.com, Marc Stein sheds more light on the matter:

I'd like to be here. I'd like to retire here. You never know. If I've got to make some sacrifices to be here, I would. I still can play, I can still help a team out. I want to win a championship. I've made all the money in the world. I just want to win.

The Grizzlies laid a determined beatdown on the visiting Golden State Warriors Saturday night, 108-90. It wasn’t actually that close. Z-Bo was the game’s leading scorer, with 23 point and 11 boards. Just another double-double for the hardworking power forward.

Randolph played nearly 35 minutes on Saturday. That’s a lot more than Wednesday night against the Pelicans. Eight minutes in, he got a call and left the game. His fiancee was giving birth. Randolph got there in time for the birth of a new baby boy. His heart may be with the Grizzlies, but an even bigger heart goes with family.

This isn’t Randolph’s first child. He’s got a 15-year-old son, Zachariah, from a previous relationship, as well as young daughters who attend school in Memphis. Randolph himself grew up as one of four children, primarily raised by his mother. The family was poor, basketball was an outlet and a way toward something better. It wasn’t an easy path—there were run-ins with the law, for stolen jeans, and a couple of years later, for receiving stolen guns.

The past is far behind now, except for when it comes back to visit.

In February of 2009,  Randolph was playing for the Los Angeles Clippers. It was another instance of family calling him away from basketball suddenly. His biological father was gravely ill and would pass away the following month. 

Randolph wants to stay in Memphis. He’s put down roots. He bought a house for $3.15 million last May. It’s a lot nicer than the one he grew up in, in Marion, Ind.

Jonathan Abrams examined the Memphis connection in a Grantland piece in 2012:

This town has a relationship with me. It's not the white side, the black side, it's the whole town. They understand the grind. They've been through it. It's a blue-collar town. People work hard. When you talk about Memphis, it's usually First 48 or something bad. But there's good people everywhere. And you don't look bad on nobody because somebody went to the penitentiary or somebody did this. You treat everybody the same because everybody's got skeletons. Some people just hide them more. Some don't get brought to the light, but ain't nobody perfect. Nobody.

Memphis had what some would consider an unlikely run to the Western Conference Finals last year. The Grizzlies have their starters back this season, plus the return of sharpshooter Mike Miller, another one of those guys who’s been around the league. He was a crowd favorite in Memphis as well as a Sixth Man of the Year. The most notable absence is head coach Lionel Hollins whose contract wasn’t renewed. Assistant coach Dave Joerger is now at the helm after five years in the second chair. That's a big roll of the dice.

The Grizzlies didn’t make it to the finals last time around. They’re looking to change that. Once again, they’re underdogs.

With this win the Grizzlies are now playing .500 ball—three up and three down. They’ve played from behind on a few occasions in their young season, but they don’t have any quit in them. Randolph’s just one of a number of guys with a lot of years in this thing—like Marc Gasol who’s played his entire NBA career here, like Tony Allen who just signed a three-year extension, like Tayshaun Prince who arrived after all those years in Detroit.

The season could be a long grind, and a lot of it will be on Randolph’s shoulders. He doesn’t mind. He wants to close it out here, and he wants a ring. He’s showing why the Grizzlies should keep him until he retires.

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