When Tony Allen turned in a strong performance for the Celtics, he would often go home and watch the end of the game on replay with a specific question in mind: Did he get the “Tommy Award” that night?
“The more Tommy Heinsohn awards you get, it pretty much validates you,” Allen said Wednesday on the “Chris Vernon Show.”
Heinsohn, who died earlier this week at age 86, distributed the award to the player who showed the most hustle, grit, and determination throughout a given game. Allen said he tried to play hard enough each night to know that he was going to get the award.
He finished his career with 45 “Tommy Awards” – which currently puts him sixth all-time since its origin in the early-2000s – behind only Paul Pierce (139), Rajon Rondo (100), Kevin Garnett (56), Marcus Smart (54), and Ray Allen (50).
The late Heinsohn also doled out “Tommy Points” during games, and Allen – a player who consistently prided himself on his defense and energy – was always fired up when he got one.
“I got so many ‘Tommy Points’ from that man,” Allen said, pounding his chest. “You always looked for a ‘Tommy Point.’ Any Celtic that ever played in a Celtic uniform always was thankful for a ‘Tommy Point.'”
— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) November 12, 2020
Allen, who played with the Celtics from 2004-2010 and was a key member of the 2008 championship team, said Heinsohn used to approach him in passing and look at him as though he was about to say something mean. Then Heinsohn would pat him on the back, Allen said, and tell him to keep working hard.
He gave Heinsohn a shout-out on the “Chris Vernon Show” and praised him for the effect he had on his life.
“I send my condolences, man,” Allen said. “Rest up, king.”
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