Tony Allen talks about his childhood at juvenile detention center

Allen has been a leader in Memphis for a long time.
Nelson Chenault/Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Allen didn’t have the easiest childhood, growing up on the rough streets of Chicago. Now, Allen is giving back, recently heading to Shelby County Juvenile Detention Center in Columbiana, AL to talk with a group of kids with whom he could actually relate.

A piece posted on the Grizzlies’ official website logs some of Allen’s best quotes and pieces of advice, which come firsthand from someone who committed enough infractions as a kid that he could’ve ended up in a similar spot to the one the kids he was speaking with were in had things turned out a little differently.

From the article on the Grizzlies’ site:

“My journey to the NBA wasn’t easy; I got a lot of slaps on the wrist… I was just thuggin’ and doing silly stuff that I just didn’t get caught doing. I guess I was clever enough because I should have been in one of these uniforms,” Allen told the group.

Allen’s life could’ve gone astray had his mother not forced him to return to school after dropping out at the beginning of high school. He had to work for extra credit later in high school to earn his degree. He eventually attended community college before going to Oklahoma State and heading to the NBA from there.

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