‘This Boy Real’: Former NBA Champion Tony Allen Recollects First Encounter with Lakers’ Talen Horton-Tucker

Published 12/16/2020, 5:00 AM EST
Dec 13, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker (5) moves in for a basket against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


During his playing days, former NBA champion Tony Allen was arguably the best defender around. The six-time All-Defensive team player would lock up everyone’s favorite player, and it is not a surprise that Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant named him the best defender he had faced. So praise coming from Allen is always real and holds value.

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Lakers youngster Talen Horton-Tucker has caught the headlines with his recent performances. Allen praised Tucker and also recollected his first encounter with him.

Allen said, “I saw him in the G-League one day. He was killing it; he had like 29 at half time. I’m like, ‘He with us.’ He then looked at me and said, ‘I don’t even belong out here.’ He hit a three next play and looked dead at me. I said, ‘this boy real.’ So to see him do this, I saw him do that to us in the G-League against the Hustle. I said something to him and he had like 38 that game. So to see him do this right here, this kid been working on his game.”

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The incident Allen shared is from January 17 earlier this year, when the South Bay Lakers took on the Memphis Hustle. That was also Allen’s first day with the Hustle as a player development coach.

The game ended in a 136-152 loss for Tucker’s Lakers, but he stole the show with his 37-point performance. He was also playing at power forward, which is not his primary position. Along with 37 points, he also grabbed nine rebounds and six assists as he asserted his dominance, and proved that he deserved to play at a higher level.

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In his rookie season, Tucker played mostly in the G-League and barely featured with the Lakers. He played six regular-season games and two playoff games. He made history during their title run, becoming the youngest American player to win the NBA title.

Dec 13, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker (5) shoots against Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tucker has started preseason strongly and will be aiming to carry this momentum into the regular season. Tucker will be doing his best to earn his place into the Lakers’ rotation and contribute more as the Lakers go for a repeat.

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Aaron Mathew

1630 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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