The Memphis Grizzlies are retiring Tony Allen’s number

Boston, MA 05/13/10: The Celtics Tony Allen flexes his muscles to the crowd during a fourth quarter timeout as the Celtics were defeating Cleveland.    The Boston Celtics take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Six of an NBA Eastern Conference Semi-Final series at the TD Garden.    (Jim Davis/Globe Staff) section:sports slug:celtics14
May 2010: Tony Allen flexes his muscles to the crowd during a fourth-quarter timeout of a Celtics-Cavaliers playoff game. –Jim Davis/Globe Staff

While it’s unlikely that Tony Allen’s No. 42 will be hanging in the rafters of the TD Garden one day, the former Celtics guard’s jersey will eventually be retired in a different city. On Thursday, the Memphis Grizzlies announced that the organization has plans to retire Allen’s No. 9 one day.

“Tony was a driving force behind the Grizzlies’ seven straight playoff appearances and he remains a beloved member of the Memphis community,” controlling owner Robert J. Pera said in a statement. “Tony played with a level of passion that is unrivaled. He helped establish a Grizzlies culture focused on toughness and effort, and he challenged every player that put on Beale Street Blue to match his fiery intensity.”

“Tony will forever be one of the Core Four responsible for the turnaround in the Memphis Grizzlies’ fortunes and our surge in popularity,” added general manager Chris Wallace. “There would never have been seven straight years of playoff appearances, the incredible electricity in FedExForum for home games, ‘Grit and Grind’ and ‘Believe Memphis’ without Tony Allen’s contributions to the team.”

Allen was selected by the Boston Celtics as the 25th pick overall in the 2004 NBA Draft. He played six seasons in Boston and was a member of the 2008 championship title squad. Allen also played in all 24 playoff games of the 2010 season in which the Celtics reached the NBA Finals.

After that year, he signed a three-year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies. Following his departure, Allen voiced that he had felt “kind of overshadowed” by Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. The guard went on to play seven seasons in Memphis and earned NBA All-Defensive first team honors during three of those years.

“Tony became more than just one of the toughest defenders in the league,” Wallace said. “He became a true cult hero who was intertwined with the soul of Memphis like few athletes ever have in any city.”

 Allen currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, who will be traveling to the FedExForum on Friday for a preseason game.
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