As part of a recent interview with The Athletic, former Memphis Grizzles guard Tony Allen detailed the ways he is serving as a mentor for Josh Jackson. After just two years, Jackson’s tenure with the Phoenix Suns was over. The 23-year-old was traded to the Grizzlies back in July and is now playing for their G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, where Allen serves as a player development coach.
In what is one of his first jobs as a developmental coach, the Hustle have asked Allen to work with several players, including Jackson. Rather than approaching the situation as a coach, though, Allen says he’s viewing the former Kansas standout as a little brother.
“You know how a lot of times the younger brother never wants to listen to the big brother because the big brother always keeps it real? That’s how I approach this situation,” Allen said of his relationship with Jackson, via The Athletic. “I’m gonna holler at him like how I holler at my little brother. My little brother, to this day, he hates hearing me say all the right things on what he needs to do. I can only talk about this stuff because I lived it. I’m not giving you anything that I guessed about. That’s how I took the approach. This is going to be my little brother.”
Jackson is hoping to rehab his image a bit, and Allen seems to be the right man to help in that process. A seven-year Grizzlies vet, Allen knows what it takes to make it in the league, and he’s sharing some of what he’s learned with Jackson.
“I let him know what he’s doing,” Allen said of Jackson. “He takes it in. He’s not one of them guys who get stubborn and doesn’t want to hear it. He takes it. And when he gets the message, it carries over on the execution side in live play.”
Allen is taking his role of Jackson’s mentor seriously. In fact, Allen watches Jackson’s game film almost daily. Some players take this sort of constructive criticism the wrong way, but these two seem to be building a nice bond.
“We can sit there and have a conversation,” Jackson said of Allen. “I can tell him things I’m not feeling, things I don’t like or things that make me feel a certain type of way, and he can reciprocate that same message to me. And at the end of the day, we’re going to understand each other and know that our communication is just basically to help each other.”
Whether or not Jackson will earn another full-time spot on an NBA roster remains to be seen. One thing is clear, though: Allen is going to do everything in his power to help him realize that goal with the Grizzlies.