Grizzlies to retire ex-Celtics guard Tony Allen’s number


Ex-Celtic Tony Allen to have number retired by Grizzlies originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Another former Boston Celtics player will have his number retired this season. Just not at TD Garden.

The Grizzlies will retire Tony Allen’s No. 9 jersey on Jan. 28, the team announced. They’ll also retire Zach Randolph’s No. 50 on Dec. 11.

Needless to say, Allen is excited about this development.

This news may surprise some Celtics fans. Allen spent his first six NBA seasons with Boston from 2004 to 2010 and prided himself on defense and hustle, helping the C’s win an NBA championship in 2008. But he was far from a superstar, averaging over 10 points per game just once (2006-07 with the Celtics) and never making an All-Star team in 14 seasons.

Allen’s contributions in Memphis went beyond the box score, though.

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He made the NBA All-Defensive First or Second Team in six of his seven seasons with the Grizzlies and along with Randolph embodied the “Grit and Grind” culture in Memphis. The Grizzlies reached the playoffs every year during Allen’s tenure despite lacking elite talent, and Allen was a big reason why.

It’s also a bit of a lower bar to get your number retired in Memphis: The Grizzlies were one of three NBA teams that didn’t have any retired numbers prior to Wednesday’s announcement, while the Celtics lead the NBA with 23 retired numbers.

Kevin Garnett will bring that number to 24 on March 13 when his No. 5 Celtics jersey is retired in Boston, so Allen will join KG and Paul Pierce as members of the 2008 title team to have their digits in NBA rafters.

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