The All-Star Break is finally here, and for the Memphis Grizzlies and their fans, it couldn’t have come at a better time. It has been a week since all the drama ended when the NBA Trade Deadline passed. While the new roster has shown encouraging signs, Wednesday night’s performance showed the same inconsistencies that has plagued this team for months. All things considered, most involved with the Grizzlies are likely relieved to step away for a few days.
Fortunately, Grizzlies fans will have some enjoyable action to watch during the 2019 All-Star Break. Mike Conley will be participating in the Skills Challenge in Charlotte, while Jaren Jackson Jr. will be involved in the Rising Stars Challenge. Many had hoped the #OneTimeforOneOne campaign earlier this season would have resulted in Conley’s first All-Star appearance. While that was not to be, Conley and Jackson Jr.’s involvement gives Memphis incentive to enjoy the annual spectacle this year.
Obviously, this is not the first time the Memphis Grizzlies’ have been involved with All-Star Weekend. While Marc Gasol may now be a Toronto Raptor, the former and eternally beloved Grizzlies’ center is the most decorated All-Star in franchise history. However, he is not the only participant to have represented the Bluff City. As a fun stroll down memory lane, here are some of the best moments for Memphis during All-Star Weekend.
The Grizzlies’ inaugural season in Memphis had a memorable All-Star weekend. In celebration of one of the most memorable rookie classes in franchise history, both Pau Gasol and Shane Battier were involved in the Rising Stars Challenge. Battier finished with 15 points while Gasol contributed 10 points and 7 rebounds in the Rookies 103-97 victory over the Sophomores.
The Grizzlies were well represented at the 2003 All-Star Game. Pau Gasol made his second Rising Stars Challenge appearance, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He helped the Sophomores defeat the Rookies 132-112. Drew Gooden played a significant role for the Rookies, netting 16 points and 8 rebounds. Furthermore, Wesley Person participated in the Three Point Shootout, and finished second to Peja Stojakovic.
Following a two-year hiatus, the 2006 All-Star Game was significant for the Grizzlies. Pau Gasol became the first Memphis Grizzlies’ player to achieve an All-Star selection in franchise history. While Gasol went scoreless, he led all All-Stars with 12 rebounds in the contest. Hakim Warrick participated in the Slam Dunk Contest, but was eliminated in the first round.
In his rookie season, Rudy Gay represented the Grizzlies well by leading the Rookies in scoring with 22 points in the Rising Stars Challenge. Mike Miller Participated in the Three-Point Shootout, but lost the first round tiebreaker to Jason Terry.
Rudy Gay was busy for a second straight year during All-Star Weekend. Just as he did for the Rookies in 2007, he scored 22 points for the Sophomores in the Rising Stars Challenge game. He also participated in the Slam Dunk Contest, but was eliminated in the first round. Mike Conley also participated in the Rising Stars Challenge, scoring 2 points and leading the Rookies with 8 assists.
Another year, another significant Rising Stars Challenge presence for the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol and OJ Mayo made their collective presence felt, with Gasol scoring 15 points and leading the Rookies with 8 rebounds while Mayo scored 12 points. The Rookies eventually came up just short in a 122-116 loss to the Sophomores.
The 2010 All-Star Game again had good involvement from Memphis. Gasol and Mayo both appeared again in the Rising Stars Challenge. This time as Sophomores, Gasol contributed 10 points and 6 rebounds while Mayo lead the Sophomores with 10 assists. However, the big moment was Zach Randolph’s All-Star selection. The first of his career, Randolph scored 8 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in 19 minutes of play.
After enjoying a break from the festivities in 2011, Marc Gasol again represented Memphis in 2012. This time, it was in the All-Star Game itself. It was Marc’s first All-Star appearance of his career. He scored 4 points and 3 rebounds in 13 minutes of play in the West’s 152-143 victory over the East.
For a second straight year, the Grizzlies only had one All-Star Weekend participant. However, for the first and only time in franchise history, it was in the form of back-to-back All-Star game appearances. Zach Randolph made his second All-Star team. Randolph scored 6 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 13 minutes of play as the West won 143-138.
The 2015 All-Star Game was likely the most memorable in Grizzlies’ history. Marc Gasol made his second All-Star appearance. It is the only time in Grizzlies’ franchise history that a player made it as a starter. Gasol finished with 6 points and a West roster high 10 rebounds. However, what made the night truly special was that former Grizzlies’ All-Star Pau Gasol was in the East starting lineup, representing Chicago. While over 70 pairs of brothers have played in NBA history, it was the first and only time a pair of brothers had started in an All-Star Game.
Marc Gasol again earned an All-Star nod. The third of his career, Gasol would deliver the best All-Star Game performance in Grizzlies’ history. He secured a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds as the West defeated the East 192-182. It was a defining moment in the best offensive season of Gasol’s career.
Certainly a highlight from last year, Dillon Brooks participated in the Rising Stars Challenge. Brooks participated as a representative of Canada on Team World vs. Team USA. Brooks scored 11 points as Team World won 155-122.
While a Memphis Grizzlies player has never won an individual competition or MVP during All-Star weekend, their history of All-Star participation has been more involved than some might think. It seems fitting that all 6 All-Star appearances in Grizzlies’ history have been in the form of a post player. As both Gasol brothers have done in their careers, Jaren Jackson Jr. hopes that the Rising Stars Challenge is simply a springboard that launches him into a future filled with All-Star Game Selections. At a time when Grizzlies fans’ are cherishing memories more than ever, a memorable performance from Jackson Jr. could not come at a better time.