When someone is crazy, you can usually see it in their eyes. This phenomena is aptly named "Crazy Eyes." While the Oxford Medical Dictionary doesn't yet have the official definition for it, Crazy Eyes generally means that by looking into a person's eyes, you can determine they are certifiably insane, and you should stay as far away from them as humanly possible.
Almost always, Crazy Eyes is a very, very bad thing. It means you're definitely going to say I love you on the first date, go on a twitter rampage for several hours after someone took fifteen minutes too long to respond to a text, or completely come unglued when the guy in front of you takes the last whole wheat everything bagel, and it's something you do not want said about you.
Of course, that's not true for all people. Enter Tony Allen, who has the craziest eyes I've ever seen. Tony Allen can't stop. I don't mean he can't stop the basketball or stop his opponent, he cannot stop himself. He is in hyper speed 100% of the time. He does laps around Charlie Sheen and parties too hard for Miley Cyrus. He's the mutant offspring of the dog from Marley and Me and Old Yeller after it got rabies. He is the grindfather of grit and grind, and we are all witnesses.
Last night, Tony Allen absolutely harassed and handcuffed the best scorer on the planet in a playoff game on his own court. An opposing player hasn't dominated an all time great in a game like that since the Monstars ruffed up Michael Jordan in the first half of Space Jam.
A lot of people were surprised that the Kevin Durant 3-pointer went in at the end of regulation. Not me. To a guy like Kevin Durant, when you get a break from Tony Allen clinging to you all night, the rim looks 15-times larger than it is, even when a guy like Marc Gasol is standing (straight up, not committing a foul in the slightest way) right in front of you.
Sure, he's going to miss layups. He's going to gamble on a pass and give up a wide open three-pointer. On occasion, he'll excitedly toss his towel onto the court and cost your team four points, but these are the things you can live with as part of The Tony Allen Effect. I hate to disappoint you all, but I cannot lay out exactly what The Tony Allen Effect is. Nobody can. It's not a theorem or equation you can solve rationally with numbers and logic. Years from now, scholars will be trying to understand it in the same way they try to wrap their minds around String Theory or The Waitress Rationale. It creates positives and negatives seemingly at random, and you cannot hope to predict it.
The Tony Allen Effect is going to destroy opponents plays, blow fast breaks, and completely wreck the system, and that's what makes Tony Allen so great. He's the perfect combination of athletic ability, incredible instincts, and sheer insanity. You never really know what he's going to do, but you know he's going to do something, and you can't take your eyes off of him, not even for a moment.
From the mouth of his own teammate, Mike Conley, there is this gem about him.
Tony Allen comes in with a chip on his shoulder everyday. We don't know what he's mad about. We can't explain it. We just roll with it.
Mike Conley, a man who's spent the last four and a half years with him cannot even begin to explain Tony Allen. Think about that. 82 games a year, endless practices, constant plane rides and training camp, and he has no idea how to explain what's going on with him? No wonder national media people don't pay him any attention.
The Play that won the Game
The Grizzlies stole a game from the Thunder in Oklahoma City! Weeeee! The game was sealed on a beautiful play late in the game after a timeout. Just how did what turned out to be the game-winning play come to be?
If none of us have the words to quantify just exactly what he is, then they, who see him two or three times a season, and even then spend their time watching other things and playing up other angles, have no hope.
Tony Allen can't stop.
He begins his games by roaming around on the bench, striking fear into his opponents like a dog on a leash, and the moment that the leash comes off, and Dave Joerger gives him a simple command he can understand like "Hulk, smash." or "Chopper, sic balls!" a storm of chaos is unleashed on the entirety of whatever arena he's in. No one is safe. No one. Not any player, official, fan, not even Kevin Durant. He's going to attach himself to your hip, make the simplest of tasks seem impossible, and if you dare turn to look at him in the face, he will stare right back with the eyes of a madman, and you will have no hope.
Earlier this year, most Grizzlies fans found themselves caught up in James Johnson mania, and I was in the middle of that charge, and the people in section 110 who constantly heard me yelling, "YOU'RE MY BEST FRIEND, JAMES!" can attest to that. But the magic and excitement James Johnson brought during his hot streak is merely a Tuesday night for Tony Allen.
He's been blocking shots, causing havoc, and making things happen for the last five years now, and he's done it all in his future voice. He isn't pretty. He won't get the hype he deserves, but he'll get the hype he needs. Whether he's starting, coming off the bench, shorting a chip shot right at the rim or flexing on the sidelines, he'll do it all in a way that only Tony Allen can. He is unlike any other, and cannot be copied or repeated. He is chaos personified.
If there is one thing we can learn from Tony Allen, it's this: You cannot control chaos, you can only hope to survive it. Last night, the Grizzlies survived an overtime thriller, and if they're going to survive this series, more than anything they can do on offense, they'll do so on the strength of Tony Allen and his whacked out, totally nuts, absolutely crazy eyes.