With the No. 4 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Memphis Grizzlies selected Mike Conley, a heady 20-year-old point guard out of Ohio State University.
For the next 12 seasons, Conley would embody the spirit of the city of Memphis while serving as the heart and soul of the franchise during its most successful years.
12 years after the 2007 draft, Memphis had its sights set on another 20-year-old point guard in the 2019 draft and, in turn, would trade Conley to the Utah Jazz in a move that effectively marked the end of an era.
Today, Conley took the floor at FedEx Forum as a visitor for the first time, and the love was felt all around from the moment he arrived.
Mike Conley arrives for his first game back in Memphis! #TakeNote- NBA (@NBA) November 15, 2019
🏀: @utahjazz at @memgrizz
⏰: 8pm/et 📺: ESPN pic.twitter.com/Zx8QzAudrQ
Mike Conley takes time to sign autographs for fans ahead of the @utahjazz/@memgrizz game!- NBA (@NBA) November 16, 2019
⏰: 8pm/et 📺: ESPN pic.twitter.com/J4cTpmh91C
To when he ws introduced as a starter
Mike Conley gets a lot of Grit 'n Grind love when he's introduced as an opponent in Memphis for the first time. pic.twitter.com/3Kbti3kOcZ- Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) November 16, 2019
And, of course, a return isn't a proper return without a tribute, and the Grizzlies put together quite the video for Conley.
The @memgrizz welcome @MCONLEY10 back to Memphis! 👏🙌 pic.twitter.com/woGc7lerLk- NBA (@NBA) November 16, 2019
All. The. Feels. @mconley10 reaction to his tribute video being played at @FedExFourm.@memgrizz | #GrindCity pic.twitter.com/WhM4Mg2bY5- FOX Sports Grizzlies (@GrizzliesOnFSSE) November 16, 2019
As evidenced by the tribute video, Conley's impact was much greater than basketball, as he spent 12 years becoming one with the community and bettering Memphis both on and off the court.
In regards to what he did on the court, the love from his teammates and the records speak for themselves:
- First all-time, Games Played - 788
- First all-time, Points Scored - 11, 733
- First all-time, Total Assists - 4,509
- First all-time, Steals - 1,161
- First all-time, 3-point Field Goals made - 1,086
- Seven consecutive playoff appearances (2011-17)
- Four postseason series wins
- Western Conference Finals appearance, 2013
- Single-game postseason record, Points scored - 35 (April 22, 2017 vs. Spurs)
- Single-game postseason record, Assists - 13 (April 27 2013, vs. Clippers)
- First all-time, Postseason Assists - 377
As for the game itself, the Grizzlies spoiled Conley's homecoming with a narrow 107-106 victory over the Jazz. It wasn't the most efficient performance for Conley, who finished the game with 15 points on 5-for-19 (26.3%) shooting, four rebounds and three assists.
The Jazz fall to 8-4 on the season but still look to be one of the scarier teams in the Western Conference while the Grizzlies continue to show promise with one of the brighter futures in the NBA.
It's safe to say that the trade appears to be a win-win for both parties.
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