Anthony (Tony) Allen was born on January 11, 1982 in Chicago, Illinois. Another player raised in a single parent home, Tony was raised by his mother Ella Allen. He has two sisters, Ebony and Dominique, and a brother, Ryan. In his spare time, Tony enjoys listening to music, and is considered somewhat of a music "connoisseur" by his Celtic teammates. He also frequently assists the Celtics in charity work in and around the Boston area. Allen attended Crane High School in Chicago, where he was a basketball standout.
Tony Allen came from a tough part of Chicago and he has said that most of his high-school friends are either dead or in jail. Tony was able to get out of the neighborhood by playing junior college basketball. He played hard enough for Oklahoma coach Eddie Sutton to notice him. And so, while Tony couldn’t get into a Division I program out of high school, Oklahoma State offered him a second chance. That second chance ultimately led Tony to a trip to the Final Four, a college degree, and a place in the NBA.
At OSU, Tony was named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year his senior year, after averaging 16 points per game and leading his team to the Final Four. He became the first player in OSU history to score 1,000 career points in just two seasons. He graduated from Oklahoma State with a degree in education. Tony has said that when he retires from basketball he would like to become a teacher.
After graduating, he entered the NBA draft and was selected by the Boston Celtics in the first round, with the 25th pick overall. In his rookie year he averaged 6.4 points per game and 2.9 rebounds per game, and ranked 3rd in the NBA for steals per 48 minutes, with 2.89. He was selected to play for the rookies in the Rookie Challenge game during All-Star Weekend, along with fellow Celtics rookie Al Jefferson.
The nature of Tony’s old neighborhood was brought to national light in an October 2005 incident. During a trip home, violence broke out in a restaurant/night spot where Tony was celebrating the Celtics signing fellow Chicago native, Will Bynum. One person’s orbital bone was broken and another was shot. Two of those injured in the scuffle filed civil lawsuits against Tony. Despite being able to get away from the violence, it seems that Tony was being drawn back in by it. This time, his success at OSU and the resulting financial security that resulted have given Tony the resources to keep from being brought down by it. The lawsuits hung over him for almost 2 years until he was finally cleared of the charges in April of 2007.
After a rookie year full of promise, his second season was derailed by his legal troubles and an injury. The ongoing legal battles over the Chicago incident had to be a distraction for him. Along with the legal woes, Tony injured his knee and had to have surgery on it. There was a lot of conjecture as to how he hurt the knee after having dominated in Summer League. It was rumored that it was injured in the scuffle in Chicago. He seemed to struggle when first coming back from surgery and didn't have the explosiveness or the lateral movement that made him such a great defender and so exciting to watch in his rookie season. Finally, after the All Star break, Tony seemed to be getting back to normal and had several very productive games, once again exciting Celtics fans with his athleticism and defense.
After his second season, Danny Ainge announced that Allen would again have minor surgery on the knee that was still bothering him. In Tony's third season, he was finally turning the corner. Pierce had gone down with an injury and Tony picked up the slack and was playing the best ball of his career. He had a string of 7 games where he was the high scorer and had over 20 points in each game. Then, on January 10, against the Indiana Pacers, Tony had already scored 19 points and went up for a dunk after he had drawn a foul and crumbled to a heap on the floor with a torn ACL. He missed the rest of the season and the team missed the player who had become their leader.
There is a funny story about the injury though. Even though in pain, Tony kept his spirits up and his sense of humor. Brian Scalabrine had also been injured in the game and after the game, Scal drove Tony and his mother to the hospital. When Tony's mother questioned this and asked if they shouldn't get an ambulance or something, Tony said, "No Mom, this is better than an ambulance. This is Scal."
This past season, Tony started out slow again as he was recovering from his most recent setback. He wore a cumbersome knee brace that seemed to limit his mobility at times. As the season wore on, he seemed to be getting his explosiveness back as he gained confidence in his knee. He averaged 6.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 18.3 minutes per game.
Tony's play could be crucial to our chances to repeat this season. He is a lock down defender on the wing and can slash to the basket and seemingly score at will when he is healthy. With the loss of James Posey, Doc will be depending on Tony for his defense and scoring off the bench. We are in for exciting times if Tony is finally healthy and plays to his potential.