MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - For fans of the Grizzlies, it’s hard to believe that Marc Gasol is no longer a Beale Street Bear.
It was a rainy day outside FedExForum on Thursday, and there may be a Grizzly fan or two shedding a tear.
Because while Marc Gasol’s poster still hangs outside the arena, Gasol no longer plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.
“He’s been a Memphis Grizzly his whole career, he feels every bit as much a part of this city as you or I do,” said Jeffrey Wright, executive producer and lead fill-in host at 92.9 FM. “They’ve made deals that have given them some flexibility during the off-season to maybe move some people while not completely tearing it down at this moment.”
As news of the trades broke, fans in Memphis called in to 92.9 and didn’t hold back their displeasure.
“Bruh, this trade is crap,” said fan Peter. “As a fan I’m tired of our front office ineptitude continuing to shoot us in the foot.”
“I’m so frustrated... gosh,” said fan Cody.
Mike Conley is now the only player left from the Core 4.
The Core 4 included Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, who made the Grizzlies one of the best teams in the NBA, competing in 2013 for a Western Conference Championship.
“To me Grit and Grind is dead... those days are gone,” Wright said.
Gasol has played his last game for now, wearing Beale Street Blue.
NBA players move around a lot; that's the nature of the game.
But when the player is homegrown, losing them hits harder and hurts more.
At Buffalo Wild Wings Thursday night, the vibe at the official Grizz Watch Party was a little off.
"The mood is different, but you know it’s still Grizz Nation,” said Brandon Johnson with the Grizzlies Claw Crew.
It’s the Claw Crew’s job to keep Grizz fans like Paula Crockett happy. It’s tougher now with Marc Gasol getting traded to the Toronto Raptors.
Paula and her family love Marc and had their picture made with him when her granddaughter Deja was 5 and again at 13.
“We’re just going to miss him you know,” Crockett said. “Like they say he’s from Memphis. He went to high school here."
Grizz Nation watched Marc transform from a chubby, standout baller at Lausanne into a lean, chiseled NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
The big man had a big heart, spending countless hours with kids at Le Bonheur and St Jude.
He's part of the beloved Core Four with ZBo, Mike Conley and Tony Allen.
"You know Memphis has a really special place in my heart, no doubt,” Marc told ESPN in 2014.
Winning some Grizz swag at Thursday’s watch party softened the blow from Marc’s exit for Lance Pugh.
The thing he’ll miss the most, he said, was having Marc around.
"A Gasol, basically. I mean we've always had one,” Pugh said. “We had Pau first and then we got Marc."
Johnson’s job, even with a Gasol-free Grizz, remains the same.
“To make sure everybody in the city is fully amped up about the Grizzlies...24/7... 365,” Johnson said.