So, if I’m really being honest with myself, I want to play basketball, but if I had to sign today or tomorrow, the answer would be “No!!” I look at it like this: I’m not willing to play the role that I’ll be needed for right now, which is to provide veteran leadership, a locker room presence, insurance in case someone gets hurt, etc. In a few months, if the right team that has an identity and a need for what I bring calls me, then maybe. Rosters are full and everybody is trying to figure out what type of team they want to be. I’ve watched training camp practices on NBA TV and I don’t have a desire to go through that right now. I don’t think I need to be on a roster – and go through pre-season – for a team that doesn’t quite need me yet, doesn’t have an identity or know what they are going to be in the future. I have an identity and I know what I bring to a team. I’d rather sit back and enjoy my family and see my kids off to school every morning than sign with a team that has so many unknowns.
October 20, 2017 | 7:06 pm EDT Update
Tony Allen: Nobody was happy about that. I’m talking nobody. If they were covering sports on the TV, sports on the radio, that summer — you were hearing ’em saying the same thing every time: “All these other teams are out here making big-time free-agent moves, and meanwhile the Grizzlies, they only signed Tony Allen?!”
Tony Allen: One of the things that people used to say about Memphis, it’s that, This is where guys go when it’s the end of the road. Talking guys like Antoine Walker, Allen Iverson, Darius Miles — and no disrespect to those guys, they’re great players, but it was like: Memphis was where they’d go for that last contract. For that contract before it’s over. And so anyway I remember it’s 4–9 or what have you, and we’ve lost five in a row, and I’m thinking, Man … am I another one of these guys now? Am I about to be one of these guys who did some things in the league, came to Memphis, and then he’s never heard from again?
Tony Allen: It was crazy. 4–9 turned to .500, then .500 turned to 10 games over, then 10 games over turned to 46 wins, then 46 wins turn to the playoffs, then the playoffs turned to the Spurs matchup, then the Spurs matchup turned to us shocking the world. And through it all — we just kept saying it: All heart. Grit grind. All heart. Grit grind. All heart. Grit grind.