Rudy Gay, who recently signed with the San Antonio Spurs, noticed a dig from former teammate Tony Allen. He took exception to the sentiment, citing a screenshot of the HoopsHype rumors page.
Here is the full quote from Allen to Tom Westerholm (via MassLive.com):
“To make a long story short, we win. Y’all can YouTube this too, in case you think it’s fabricated. I was so upset with Rudy for not playing … I end up having 27 points, eight rebonds and like five steals. Mind you, I hadn’t played in 22-some-odd games, and this is to let you know how in shape I was. Durant had like 35, but they lost. When they gave me my interview, the first thing I said was, ‘It’s just all heart. Grit and grind.’ That’s how that phrase blossomed in Memphis. I was still upset. That was really a jab at Rudy Gay.”
A bit of research into the USA TODAY archives shows Gay did not play against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 8, 2011. The report shows Allen was the replacement for Gay. He finished the game with 27 points (9-for-12) with five steals and three blocks.
Allen did not have eight rebounds; he had four. He was also on the floor quite a bit that season, including the night before, finishing the year with 72 games played.
This is not the first time Allen took credit for the team’s catchphrase. Here is an excerpt from a story by Ramona Shelburne published in 2013 (via ESPN):
Tony Allen just said it one night, and everyone knew exactly what he meant. Everyone who has ever played with or against him. Everyone in the city of Memphis who now adores him. Everyone, or anyone really, who understands that not everybody gets to be a big, bright star, but there can be just as much glory in fighting to hold on to every inch of the place in the world that is yours. “All heart,” Allen said after the 2011 game that transformed his career with the Grizzlies. “Grit. Grind.”
The curious part of the story, though, is later in the interview with Shelburne he told her he “never pointed fingers” at anybody. We’ve since learned Allen was, in fact, taking a bit of a jab at his former teammate.
As the Fastbreak Breakfast podcast notes, Allen clarified he and Gay are on good terms and added that he has since “forgiven him” for not playing in the aforementioned game. But the bad blood may have boiled on the other side.
Gay was not happy with the quote from Allen, which is statistically fair. In his thirteen-year career, Allen has averaged 61.3 games per season while Gay has averaged 68.4 games played.
Meanwhile, Gay has also logged 9,033 more minutes on the court than Allen despite the fact Allen has played two more seasons.