Gasol maintains love for Memphis ahead of 1st matchup vs. Grizzlies
David Sherman / National Basketball Association / Getty

For the first time in his 11-year NBA career, Marc Gasol will line up against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Toronto Raptors center was acquired from Memphis at last season's trade deadline, and Sunday marks the first matchup between the two teams since then.

"I got there when I was 16 years old. It was my first time out of Spain," Gasol said Saturday, according to The Associated Press. "I started high school there as a teenager and left as a father of two kids. ... My ties to the city and my roots go pretty deep and my love for the people there, what they mean and the franchise, it's forever."

Gasol was a staple of the Grizzlies' famous "Grit and Grind" era, during which the team made seven straight playoff appearances, including its lone Western Conference finals in 2012-13.

The Spaniard was one of the game's top big men during his Memphis tenure, earning three All-Star selections, two All-NBA nods, and Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2013. He remains the Grizzlies' all-time leader in numerous categories, including field goals made, rebounds, blocks, and defensive win shares.

Gasol was dealt to Toronto in February 2019 and soon after became the club's starting center. The 35-year-old played an influential role in the Raptors' title run with his playmaking and post defense.

Gasol maintains love for Memphis ahead of 1st matchup vs. Grizzlies
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