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JaMychal Green reacts to Zach Randolph’s retirement

JaMychal Green, Zach Randolph, Clippers, Grizzlies

PLAYA VISTA – LA Clippers forward JaMychal Green got his start in the NBA about 1800 miles away from Downtown LA. Across the country, Green began his NBA career with the Memphis Grizzlies behind franchise-star Zach Randolph.

Anyone who watched the NBA during the last decade will tell you it wasn’t just any old Grizzlies team. The mid 2010’s brought out the fan-favorite ‘Grit-and-Grind’ Grizzlies. Led by Randolph, Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, and Mike Conley, the Grizzlies made their stamp by absolutely grinding games into defensive onslaughts.

Green had a rough time finding his way into the NBA, signing multiple training camp deals only to be waived before the start of the season. Whether it was the Spurs or Clippers (and then the Spurs again), Green didn’t land a job until he signed a 10-day deal with the Grizzlies in January of 2015.

The forward out of Alabama finally started playing more minutes albeit off the Memphis bench during the 2015-16 season. That’s where he took the time to learn from the guy ahead of him in the rotation: his mentor Zach Randolph.

Randolph recently announced his retirement from the NBA following a 15-year career mostly with the Portland Trail Blazers and Grizzlies.

“Oh, he means a lot [to me],” Green said of Zach Randolph. “When I first came into the league, that’s my OG. He really taught me the ins and outs of the game, how to be professional, how to work, just was a great big brother.

Randolph finished his 17-year career averaging 16.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game on 47.1 percent shooting.

“I hate to see him leave, he’s a great person. One of the best. At the age he’s still at now, I bet he still has it. We are going to miss him.”

The Michigan State big man may not have been known for his athleticism, but was very well known for his box-out tactics and ability to always come up with rebounds despite barely jumping more than a few inches. The best part is that it didn’t matter whether he was a 20-year old rookie or in his final season at 36, the knack he had for rebounding, especially offensively, was never lost.

“I’m trying to figure that sh*t out myself,” joked Green about Zach Randolph. “I guess it’s boxing out. He’s one of the best at barely jumping getting rebounds. He’s going to get his double-double.”

Green was an integral part of the Clippers last season after coming over in the trade with the Grizzlies. His ability to space the floor while defending and rebounding at a high level were season-changers. So what did Green ultimately learn from Randolph in the few years he was able to: The ‘Grit-and-Grind’ mentality he brought over

“Yeah, just his mentality,” admitted Green. “He was a dawg out there. Pat Beverley kind of remind me of him and TA (Tony Allen). Just their mindset out there, they are going to talk and they are going to back it up and I love that about Z-Bo.”

Green and the Clippers have been slipping with an up-and-down couple of weeks, but they’ll look to start a new winning streak against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.