San Antonio Spurs: Rudy Gay injury began Grizzlies’ ‘grit and grind’


New San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay, who began his career on the Memphis Grizzlies, was coined with developing the latter’s ‘grit and grind’ motto, but not for a reason he appreciated.

The San Antonio Spurs signed Rudy Gay in NBA free agency. He’ll provide the team with an extra scoring forward, who’s recovering from an Achilles injury.

Before the Spurs, Gay spent years with the Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings. He got his start on the Memphis Grizzlies first, before the move to Toronto. Gay was part of the early “grit and grind” Grizzlies teams of the early 2010’s. Other players on the team led to this style of play more than the 11-year pro, who was more known for his scoring than defense.

One member of that team, Tony Allen, was known as a top perimeter defender. He recently appeared at Basketball Hall of Fame’s 60 Days of Summer program and spoke about how “grit and grind” developed (h/t

“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.'”

Players get hurt, but it doesn’t sound like Allen bought this. He continued with how he was “so upset” with Gay not playing and had 27 points, eight rebounds, and five steals. So, Allen said he went to a post-game interview and said the new team motto:

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.”

Gay responded to the story on Twitter, and didn’t seem too thrilled. He said “pot calling the kettle black.

Pot calling the kettle black

— Rudy Gay (@RudyGay) August 5, 2017

Well, don’t expect Gay to invite Allen over for dinner anytime soon.

Gay was traded from the Grizzlies in the 2012-13 season, which took one of their top scoring threats away, but put a greater emphasis on the “grit and grind” motto. Players like Allen, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, and Mike Conley led these teams for the next few years.

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It’s been a few years since Gay left Memphis, so there may not be anything to come from this. He’ll step onto the court at the AT&T Center, play for the Spurs, and things will continue on in the fall.