Little known fact: Tony Allen is great at engaging kids in fun activities, playing half court with 6-year-old campers, and making an 8-year-old feel like an NBA superstar.
Today I visited the 2nd Annual Grit & Grind Basketball Academy, hosted by the Grizzlies’ own Tony Allen. This weeklong academy, which is open to boys and girls, helps youngsters focus on their shooting, dribbling, rebounding, defensive skills, and teamwork. The academy is free, and the kids get the pleasure of hanging out with Tony Allen all day.
When watching the youngsters play 5 on 5, it’s hard to tell who is having more fun, Allen or the kids. Tony celebrates every shot, constantly gives out high fives, and can’t seem to stop smiling and laughing. It is clear that he feels as comfortable giving a 7-year-old advice as he does defending Chris Paul. Although I love seeing Tony on the court, it’s great to see him giving back to the Memphis community with his talent and fame.
After the camp Tony had this to say about the off-season changes the Grizzlies have made: “I’m just sitting back, looking at the moves we’ve done. Chris Wallace has done a good job with this organization and managing it, so whatever he does, I’m with it. Everybody getting on the same page is all it is about anyway, so I’m moving forward with whatever decisions are made.”
Tony also speculated about the Grizzlies upcoming season: “I know that the core group of guys that we’ve got coming back still have the taste of that playoff loss in their mouths, so if those guys come in and fill the void for the guys that are missing, I think we’ll be pretty good coming up for next season.”