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Tony Allen Coat Drive

Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Tony Allen took time out of his daily grind of a season to give back to the community that stands behind him and the youth that look up to him.  At around 4:30 on Tuesday afternoon, the Goodwill Boys and Girls Club gym was filled as Tony teamed up with City G.E.A.R. and handed out hugs, advice and 100 coats to the boys and girls of the organization.

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Honored to be partnered with Allen for the event, City G.E.A.R. representative Bob Cournoyer said, “Whether it’s Tony or any of the other players that come through Memphis, it’s something that our parent company, Shelmar City G.E.A.R. wanted to do and will continue doing in the community.” 

He continues, “These kids look so cute, and I’m proud of what they’ve got on, and that we were able to donate just warms my heart.”

 Just before presenting the coats to the group of about 20 young boys, Allen shared his personal story about obstacles he overcame and his perseverance to accomplish playing basketball at the professional level. He discussed his life as an underprivileged youth growing up in Chicago and the struggles he faced as an adolescent and his drive to better himself among peers who pressured him to be “cool.”  As a role model and someone to whom these boys can relate, Allen allowed an opportunity that he was never granted in his early years.

“I just think back on my growing up, I always looked up to those great teams like the Bulls.  Those guys never got a chance to come out to my neighborhood,” Allen stated about his reasoning for the coat drive.  “Now that I’m a professional basketball player and as much as I can get out to the community, I try to take full advantage.  This is my first coat drive and I want to make this an annual thing.”

Not only were the kids thankful for the donation, but the members of the Boys and Girls Club organization expressed their gratitude as well.  Charles Griffin, Vice President of Operations for the Boys and Girls Club, said, “Tony is just very real with that grit and grind.  The kids can really relate to that because he is just like them.  He’s come from similar background, and it was very nice to see Tony, this very accomplished basketball player, be real, open himself up to questions and get down and dirty with the kids.  Sometimes our kids never really get a chance to see and touch the people that they admire and aspire to be, and Tony made that happen today.”