The Grindfather has truly created a name for himself. After two seasons at Oklahoma State, including heading one of the best teams in OSU history and being named Big 12 player of the year in 2004, Tony Allen has carved a niche for himself in Memphis.
Allen, in his 10th year in the league, has been a part of Memphis' rise in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies are 39-14 heading into the All-Star break, and are 3rd in ESPN's Power Rankings.
The impact of Tony Allen has long been debated and will likely continue to be a topic of debate within the Grizzlies sphere for years and years. This is partially because there are several folds to the quilt that is this discussion: 1) Tony Allen has an undeniable, positive impact on the success of Memphis, 2) Tony undeniably has a chaotic element to him that occasionally results in egregiously bad plays, 3) Tony's impact usually isn't that quantifiable through stats, at least the stats most people look at, and 4) Tony Allen basically created a cult phenomenon in Memphis, TN with his Grit & Grind mantra. Detractors might point at the numbers, but the Grizzlies consistently have a better record when Tony Allen plays 20+ minutes.
But the cultural element cannot be understated. Allen has one of the most colorful personalities in the NBA, and it's usually on full display when the Grizzlies take the court, especially at home in FedexForum. This has become particularly palpable in the past couple of years as the rich professional wrestling heritage of Memphis --and Memphians' love and appreciate thereof -- has been frequently compared to the atmosphere and intensity that the city experiences with their beloved NBA team. And it's more than just a team; it's the identity of the city, and Tony Allen, aka the Grindfather, is the living, breathing embodiment of our fervor.
Grit 'N Grind. It pretty much sums up Tony's approach to the game. He's developed into much more than just a well rounded player. He's one of the premier defenders in the league, and in consideration for Defensive Player of the Year. Here's a look at Tony's numbers so far on the season.
The Grizzlies are the blue-collar team of the NBA, and largely because of the attitude Tony brings to the game. They'll have a tough Western Conference to get through, but they are built to do it with a rough and tough defense headed by Allen.