Tony Allen is not forgetting his Oklahoma roots

Allen is hosting a basketball camp at his old haunt of Gallagher-Iba Arena. And Allen is footing the bill for the Grit & Grind Basketball Skills Academy from July 29-31 in Stillwater.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 9, 2013

Tony Allen wants to rejuvenate his Oklahoma roots.

Wish that meant Allen signing a cut-rate contract with the Thunder. That would be mighty fine for those of us who enjoy big-time NBA basketball.

Instead, Allen is going a more humanitarian route. He's hosting a basketball camp at his old haunt of Gallagher-Iba Arena. And Allen is footing the bill for the Grit & Grind Basketball Skills Academy from July 29-31 in Stillwater.

For $4,000, Allen is renting the coliseum in which he once starred.

“Just looking at how I came up, pretty much started in Oklahoma,” said Allen, who went to high school at Chicago's Crane Tech, then played at two junior colleges before landing at OSU.

“Great times in Stillwater,” Allen said, of making the 2004 Final Four. “Feel like jump-started my career.”

Allen just completed his ninth NBA season. He's got a championship ring (2008 Celtics) and now is first-team all-defense and a face of the Memphis Grizzlies franchise.

But Allen, who made just $3.3 million last season, is a free agent. Who knows where he'll land? Allen expresses devotion to Memphis.

“I bleed blue,” he told csnchicago. “This is where I want to be.

“One thing that I did, through the grace of God, is I made a name for myself and a lot of teams around the league know me, so I'm not too worried about that.

“I'm just focusing on being here with the Grizzlies, because I've built relationships … showed the guys what that grit and grind is about, and it would be hard leaving the city of Memphis. They showed me so much love, so I'm thinking about Memphis all the way.”

Memphis fans and teammates don't want to ponder life without Allen. Generally considered the NBA's best perimeter defender, Allen has forged an identity in Memphis.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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