Tony Allen is one of the most beloved Boston Celtics post-Big Three era. And I don’t mean the Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen Big Three. I mean the original Big Three.
“I didn’t want to leave,” said Allen. “Every time I come into Boston I hear it: ‘Tony Allen, we love you’. It always brings back good memories. That’s what it’s all about. Bringing that championship back to the home team.”
TA is one of the best individual defenders in basketball history. Kobe Bryant has often said Tony was the hardest guy to battle with. And all the credit, Tony says, goes to one of his teammates.
“I stuck Paul Pierce in practice every day for seven years. And my whole thing was if I could stick Paul Pierce every day at practice – I couldn’t shut him down, I’m not going to stop him – but these reps I’m getting guarding Paul Pierce made for the best sparring partner ever,” he said.
Pierce was known for his old-man game. The herky-jerky moves, the shoulder bumps, the footwork, etc just to find a little glimmer of space to get the shot off. Kobe had all the moves and then some. So facing them in practice every day was a good way to gear up for one of the best scorers in league history.
Obviously, it was hard watching Tony move onto less-green pastures. I don’t mean that as a slight at all to Memphis. It’s just that Boston’s colors are…you know…green. However, Danny stumbled upon Tony’s replacement in Marcus Smart, who Tony calls “the heart of the team”.
“I used to always ask Danny Ainge about his job. What does he do every day at his job. And one day he told me ‘I’m looking for someone to replace you,'” Tony said cackling with respect.
Pretty safe to say, Allen is a BIG fan of Smart’s.
“It’s a toss up [for best defensive player] between [Smart] and Pat Bev. But I’d have to say [Smart is the best].”
Check out this week’s Celtics Beat and hear Tony for an entire hour-plus with Adam Kaufman. Make sure you subscribe to the show on iTunes and Stitcher! And make sure you follow Adam on Twitter here!
2:35 Does Tony Allen identify more with Boston or Memphis?
10:07 Paul Pierce did s*@t his pants
21:49 Biggest What If’s in Boston
29:05 Kyrie’s leadership skills
43:07 What makes Smart a great defender