Many people in the City of Memphis are upset with the Grizzlies for not resigning Lionel Hollins. The Grizzlies had their best sea
son in team history, with a record setting 56 wins and reaching the Western Conference Finals.
This was the best season in Grizzlies history, but many things were happening behind the scenes. A new regime took over the Grizzlies, a new owner name Robert Pera and his team would be running the Grizzlies. Lionel and the new ownership were not on the same page. Lionel made comments about the new ownership in the national media, right after the Rudy Gay trade. He said that the new ownership had champagne taste on a beer budget. It was clear that Lionel was not coaching the team he wanted to coach. However, Lionel did a vast job with this team.
Lionel got the best out of his self proclaim beer budget roster. The Grizzlies reach heights that the team never encounters before this season. Many would think this achievement would insure Lionel a new contract, but Lionel will no longer walk out of the tunnel by the Lexus Lounge on to the FedEx Forum floor.
The perception is that Lionel created the team’s motto, Grit and Grind. I believe that Lionel played a big part in getting the team to epitomize Grit and Grind, but he did not create the motto. Lionel gets a lot of credit for the motto, but I believe he does not deserve all the credit.
Three seasons ago, Tony Allen joins the team as a free agent. The Grizzlies finished the season 10th in the West the season before Tony Allen became a Grizzlies. The Grizzlies just missed the playoffs with a record of 40-42. The team had a high-quality offence, but the defense was not on the same level as the offence.
Tony Allen was signed to help the back-court on the defensive side of the ball. This action did not take place early in the season. Tony was the third string SG, behind Henry and O.J. Mayo. GNG would have never been discover, if Henry never had an injury, Mayo, and Tony never had an altercation.
Lionel was force to put Tony Allen into the starting line-up. Allen’s first start was on the road against OKC. Tony scored 27 points against the Thunder and played immense defense on Kevin Durant, to help the Grizzlies with a come from behind victory over the Thunder.
February 8, 2011, the motto that every Grizzlies fan and the world identify with the Memphis Grizzlies was born. During Tony Allen’s post game interview, he said the famous line, “…It’s all about heart, grit and grind”.
If Lionel were never force to play Tony Allen, GNG would not exist. Therefore, I believe that he should not have the credit for creating GNG. I give him credit for successively making sure the team played hard and lived up to the motto, but without Tony Allen, where would the Grizzlies be as a franchise? Would see the growl towels waving in the stands of the FedEx Forum if Tony never played or traded like most of the players Lionel does not play? I believe this team would not have reached the heights it reaches, with Henry in the starting line-up. I believe that the team would not have reached the Western Conference Final if they did not trade Rudy Gay.
The Memphis Grizzlies will be fine without Lionel Hollins. I personally wish Lionel the best, but if he and the front office could not see eye to eye, this misfortune was going to hurt the Grizzlies.
Grit and Grind has not left Memphis and never will. Tony Allen is the real creator of Grit and Grind. He gave this city a motto, a new identity and new hope. It is all about heart, Grit and Grind.