Brothers playing against each other in the NBA is no big deal these days, what with there being like 90,000 pairs in the history of the league. And if you think about it, it makes sense. Brothers share a lot of the same DNA, so if one brother is tall and athletic then it’s only logical that a player’s brother would occasionally also be tall and athletic. It doesn’t happen for every single brother in the NBA, but it happens enough that you can be like, “Must run in the family” and not feel like a total jerk.
But even though there have been a bunch of siblings in the league, very few of those siblings are Tony Allen, which is what makes the fact that he played against his younger brother, Ryan, in a preseason game last night pretty great. From ESPN:
When Tony spoke to Ryan on the floor during the game, it was the first time they talked in a few days. Tony said prior to the game he was treating Ryan like a regular NBA foe and hadn’t talked to him even though Tony got into Chicago the day before.
“I treat him like a rival,” Tony said. “I don’t want to talk to him before no game. I’m not in talking to anyone before a game, not even my brother.”
Ryan said, “I was trying to call him. He wouldn’t answer. What is up? I wasn’t surprised he did that.”
Of course Tony Allen wouldn’t want to talk to his own flesh and blood before a preseason game. He’s got important things to do before playing basketball, like get a sparkly bear carved in to his head. He can’t be bothered to waste time conversing with the enemy when he needs to concentrate really hard on the seven minutes of absolutely pointless basketball he will play later that night. That’s why his brother wasn’t surprised he couldn’t even get a hello. He knows what’s up.
The bad thing, however, is that Tony Allen might have wasted his chance for some good family bonding time. As a Bulls training camp invite, things don’t look so great for Ryan, as Chicago has needlessly hard-capped themselves and will have real trouble adding any players whatsoever during the early part of the season. That’s not to say he won’t catch on somewhere else, but the brothers Allen reuniting in their hometown in front of their ecstatically proud mom for a second time just doesn’t seem likely. No big deal, except Tony just spent their first time playing against each other in the NBA not talking to his brother. And it was a preseason game. Pretty cold-blooded by Mr. Grit and Grind.
But you probably wouldn’t expect anything less from Tony Allen. Ryan didn’t touch the ball with Tony on him, but if he did, I don’t think anyone would be surprised to see Tony in his shorts, jawing at him and doing anything possible to keep him from scoring. Not just because he’s one of the best defenders in the NBA, mind you, but because there’s no way a big brother would let a little one get the best of him.