Tony Allen writes thank you letter to Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tony Allen penned a letter to his former home of Memphis.

Allen was featured in The Players' Tribune, a website for athletes to share their stories.

The letter starts off in the most Tony Allen way possible:

"I know y'all miss me at the airport," he wrote.

Allen called his job as Memphis International Airport's ambassador an "honor." For many people, he was the first thing they saw upon arriving in Memphis.

"As soon as any opposing team stepped off the plane, they had probably saw me standing there, looking 'em up and down. Welcome to this town called Mem. Tony Allen controls the skies around these parts."

Allen was the creator of the Grizzlies' Grit and Grind mantra.

He said he appreciates Memphis fans and the city, not just for letting him play ball, but for letting him represent them.

He noted the team's struggles when he first signed in 2010, and how there was no major turning point for the Grizzlies squad--they just started winning.

He offered stark compliments to Marc Gasol ("a real one"), Mike Conley ("my boy since day one"), and Zach Randolph ("one of the nicest guys you're ever going to meet").

But, Tony said this isn't his goodbye to Memphis.

"I'll be back in Memphis, on a permanent basis, at some point in time. I can guarantee you that. Whether it's working for this organization, or working somewhere else in the city, or just being one of those old dudes who hangs around Mem, eating barbecue or whatever, and one day you'll tap some old dude on the shoulder and it'll be like, Yo, that's Tony Allen — man, whether it's any of those things, or whether it's something else. I'll be back in Memphis. No doubt."

Alishia Crabtree, a self-proclaimed huge Grizzlies fan, has never seen her favorite team play; however, that will change on opening night when the Grizzlies play Allen and the New Orleans Pelicans.

"Tony Allen is one of my favorite players. I'm so excited," she said.

"Everybody loves Tony," James Beckwith, fellow Grizzlies fan, said. "He's a Pelican now, so we've got to move on. But we love him though."

Allen calls this his thank you letter.

So thank you, too, Tony. We'll miss seeing The Grindfather in Beale Street blue.

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