The motto 'Grit and Grind' has become synonymous with the Memphis Grizzlies franchise, even spreading to their home arena (The 'Grindhouse') and defensive superstar guard Tony Allen's nickname (The Grindfather).
But Allen has gone more in-depth about the origins of the motto, and how it originally came into existence, speaking to MassLive.com’s Tom Westerholm at the Basketball Hall of Fame’s 60 Days of Summer program.
Apparently, Allen came up with 'Grit and Grind' after small forward Rudy Gay sat out a game against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder because of a small toe injury. Tony was less than pleased with the news and made it known during the post-game interview.
“Rudy Gay said ‘I’m not playing this game, my toe hurts,'” Allen said. “‘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.'”
Allen went on to guard Kevin Durant instead of James Harden.
“To make a long story short, we win,” Allen said. “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.”
Tony's right too, you can YouTube the interview. We've taken the liberty to do that part for you though.
Rudy Gay got word of the comments made in the interview a short time later, and as you'd expect, didn't take too kindly to a former teammate calling him out years later.
It's unknown why Tony Allen would be considered a hypocrite for these comments, and we'll most likley never find out, as once Gay had it pointed out to him that Allen said the two were still friends, he said the same thing.
Regardless, even though the term started out as a jab at Rudy, the motto has grown into Memphis' identity over the past few years and players and fan alike have grown to embrace it.