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Tony Allen at home at camp

  • Written by Kelley Evans
  • Published in News

After a successful season filled with grit and grind, Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen decided to follow his passion by giving back to the community. After a successful season filled with grit and grind, Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen decided to follow his passion by giving back to the community.

 In his first season with the Grizzlies, Tony Allen became a key cog in the team’s first successful playoff run. At his Grit and Grind Basketball Camp, attendees got a healthy dose of the basics, including how to stretch and exercise. (Photos by Kelley Evans)

Tony Allen and his mother, Ella Allen, are passionate about working in the Memphis community for the benefit of children from low-income families.

Monday (July 18) marked the inaugural weeklong Grit and Grind Basketball Camp developed to teach leadership skills to urban youth. Held in Memphis at Colonial Park United Methodist Church, more than 100 children registered for the free camp directed by Keith “Shot Doc” Veney, sports trainer and owner of VMG Management.

Day 1 of the camp drew this tweet from Allen: “I’m excited about my first camp in Memphis.”

Surrounded by his family, agent and friends, Allen was aglow.

“I’ve been having a good year with the grit and grind movement and I wanted to keep it going,” Allen said. “This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. It’s my passion. I want to be able to do this throughout the community. I wish I could do it during the season.”

The camp is a hands-on project for Allen. He’s there and he’s active – running drills and practice games, and teaching the young campers how to stretch and exercise.  

“I want the kids to learn hard work and gain a work ethic and confidence in themselves,” Allen said.

Born and raised in one of Chicago’s public housing complexes, Allen said he wants to open a door for children to experience the things he did not.

“Growing up I wasn’t fortunate enough to pay for the Michael Jordan camps or Scottie Pippen camps in Chicago,” Allen said.  “I felt like having this camp would also get me closer to those kids who may not have been able to afford to come to our games.”

His mother, Ella Allen, said she was so proud and excited at how the city has embraced her son.

“This camp means so much to me,” Ella Allen said. “It means so much to Tony. Tony loves kids and this is a great opportunity for people to see the real Tony Allen and what he stands for.”

Of his mother, Allen said, “She’s still my mom. She’s always informing. She’s always suggesting. She’s always planning.”

Allen devoted the whole week to the campers, which is not the norm for players during professional basketball camps.

“I look forward to making them better basketball players this week,” he said.

The Grit and Grind Basketball Camp in Memphis was sponsored by Adidas, Lenny’s, Wal-Mart and Commrads ’N the Community.

A Chicago version of the camp will run from Aug. 1 to Aug. 5.

Allen, known for his heavy defensive talents signed with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2010 as a championship-caliber player from the Boston Celtics.  In his first season with the Grizzlies he averaged 8.9 points per game and earned a starting spot.  He was an integral part of leading the team to their first successful playoff run.

VMG is a youth empowerment organization based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. It focuses on preparing the youth for tomorrow with physical conditioning and mental strengthening provided through basketball camps, sports clinics and skill development via individual workouts.

(For more information about the Tony Allen Grit and Grind Basketball Camp or VMG Management, please visit http://vmg7.com/ ­index.php/events/camps.)

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