LONDON – Jerome Allen brings a Philly flavor to the Boston Celtics.
The way the Celtics assistant coach walks and talks reminds you of Philadelphia. But there’s no denying that Allen, who grew up in North Philly and Germantown, loves working for the squad that was despised in his hometown during his youth.
Boston general manager Danny Ainge and coach Brad Stevens hired Allen after he resigned as Penn’s basketball coach following the 2014-15 season.
“When I came up to talk to Brad and Danny about the job, I cracked a joke in the meeting to Danny,” Allen said. “I said, ‘When I was 10 years old and you would have said to me, ‘You are going to eventually work for the Celtics,’ I would have said, ‘I’m never working for the Celtics!’
“That’s how much of a Sixers fans I was, and I still am just in terms of being from Philadelphia.”
But the former standout guard at Episcopal Academy and Penn looks to beat his hometown 76ers in Thursday’s 3 p.m. NBA London game here at The 02 Arena.
However, that didn’t stop him from recounting his Sixers-Celtics rivalry memories following Boston’s practice on Tuesday afternoon at CitySport.
“I remember Andrew Toney being called the ‘Boston Strangler’ and the fight with Dr. J and Larry Bird, and listening to (Mike Gorman) and Tommy Heinsohn, watching the game with my dad,” said Allen, who turns 45 on Jan. 28.
But he’ll tell you it’s been surreal to get the opportunity he’s receiving with the Celtics (33-10). His job is actually more enjoyable than he ever imagined. Part of his job includes working closely with forward Marcus Morris, another North Philly native.
Allen said his job has provided an opportunity to learn, grow and deal with different personalities as far as the roster.
“And being close enough to see how the elite ones get it done, I’m pump-faking,” he said. “I’m living a dream.”