Tony Allen seems to be enjoying the retirement life. He does his thing, but he also fairly regularly pops up for a radio appearance or an interview to give his thoughts on
Michael C. Wright of NBA.com recently got ahold of Allen for a Q&A to just talk about what he’s up to and get him to dish on some old stories from his career. One of those stories had to do with Allen during his Celtics days when Paul Pierce brought in boxing gloves.
I heard a story about y’all putting on the boxing gloves at practice one day to settle differences. Did this really happen?
(Laughing) Yeah, man. The boxing gloves were definitely an idea from Paul Pierce. All I can remember is him bothering Patrick O’Bryant. Patrick O’Bryant was in there eating breakfast, and Paul Pierce didn’t like that he was eating breakfast before he got his workout in. He thought he should’ve been out there in the gym working with him, instead of chilling in there lounging. He said, “You know what, from now on I ain’t gonna raise my voice at nobody.” He said, “If I’ve got a problem, we’re putting on the gloves.” I found it real funny man. I’m like, “Yo, P, this dude is 7-feet tall and you’re trying to put some gloves on this athletic frame here?” He was like, “I’ve got gloves for everybody because I’m tired of everybody bickering.” Just in case, he had all sizes. So then it just became a funny thing. I was like, “Yo, OK. I know somebody I want to box.” Man, we came in there, and all I can remember is me picking out Glen Baby Davis. I remember me trying to get my first little couple of swings at him, and all I can remember is Glen Davis knocking me out. Boom. I fell. They said, “Awww, he’s knocked out.” They all started laughing and running. That was probably one of the most weird ways to bring in camaraderie and bring in love and togetherness. But it was funny, man.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Allen picked out a big man to box with. Allen was known throughout his carer as one of the toughest guys in the NBA. Guys like him aren’t going to find someone small to take on, but rather a big guy like Davis. Pierce also was using boxing as a way for players to settle beef so maybe Davis was just getting on Allen’s nerves, or the two had a personality conflict of some kind. Whatever it was, the beef must have been settled after that because Davis was the pretty clear champion.
This is a pretty funny story, because usually when you hear about fights happening in the locker room it’s not considered a good thing, but this area of team building appears to have worked. Allen spoke about it fondly and while he acknowledges it as weird, he did win a title on those Celtics teams so you can’t really criticize the methods. Allen has always seemed like a guy that, if it made the team closer, he’ll take a punch for them. He proved that feeling to be true in Boston.