Celtics coach Jerome Allen has recently become implicated in a criminal case alleging that he received bribes from a man who wanted to help his son gain admission to Allen’s former school of employment, the University of Pennsylvania.
Allen is “one of the biggest basketball stars in Penn history“, according to Bloomberg, as well as a former coach for the Ivy League school for six seasons. Allen is not personally identified in the indictment which was filed against the businessman who paid for the bribe, nor is Penn as the specific school, but the descriptions reportedly match a Philadelphia school, while the head coach description matches his time spent at Penn.
Allen was fired from Penn after the 2014-15 season, and joined the Celtics soon after. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Allen Was a Two-Time Recipient of the Award for Ivy League Player of the Year, & Played for Two Years in the NBA
Allen was one of the most decorated players ever to play for the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn, he led his team to three straight undefeated Ivy League seasons, from 1992 to 1995. In addition, he was a two time Ivy League Player of the Year, graduating from the school as the all-time leader in steals and assists.
Allen was selected in the second round of the NBA draft as the 49th overall pick for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995. He has also played for the Indiana Pacers and the Denver Nuggets, in addition to playing overseas in Italy, France, Greece, Turkey and Spain.
2. Philip Esformes Allegedly Paid Allen to Mark Him as a “Recruited Basketball Player” to Increase His Chances of Acceptance to Penn
According to the indictment against Esformes, he paid Allen to mark on Morris Esformes’ college application that the prospective student was a “recruited basketball player”. Though the Ivy League does not provide athletic scholarships, coaches are able to flag the applications of potential athletes who are applying to the college, which can often add significant weight to the likelihood of acceptance.
School records reflect that Esformes never played a game for the Quakers once he was admitted to the school. What’s more, the website doesn’t even mark Morris Esformes as even having been a part of the team, even in his first semester of freshman year. 3
2. Allen Reportedly Received a Total of $53,000 in Wired Funds From Esformes
A year after Morris Enformes enrolled at Penn, his father, Philip Esformes, reportedly wired $15,000 to Allen from an account in the name of a nursing home administrator. Six months after that, Esformes wired $20,000 more, and three months after that he wired a final $18,000.
In addition to the direct wire transfers, Esformes, his son, and Allen all flew together on a private jet in 2015, from Philadelphia to Miami. Bloomberg reports that Esformes spent a total of $74,558 “for the coach’s benefit”, both in wire transfers and flight costs.
Esformes’ wiring of funds to Allen hasn’t been his only financial discretion. He has also been embroiled in one of the largest health-care fraud runs in United States history, using his chain of 20 nursing homes and assisted living facilities to file over $1 billion in false claims. As for Esformes, he has denied any wrongdoing flat out, and challenges the integrity of the allegations.
3. He and His Wife, Aida, Have Four Children
Allen and his wife, Aida, currently have four children together: 21-year-olds Jerome and Taylor, who are twins, 14-year-old Jordan, and seven-year-old Roman.
Allen retired from playing basketball in Europe in order to be a more attentive father, he explained to The University of Pennsylvania Gazette. While playing in Italy, he had received a letter from his oldest daughter, Taylor, saying that she missed him and that she was tired of him being gone for months at a time.
“It killed me,” Allen said. Of playing abroad, he added, “You miss dance recitals, baseball games, soccer games, basketball games, parent-teacher conferences—and no amount of money can substitute certain things. As much as you like to say that you played because you enjoyed the game, it’s also a means to help secure a stable financial future for your children. But you can’t put a price on the time and commitment that your children are deserving of.”
4. Brad Stevens Has Said of Allen That He’s a “Great Person” & Was a “Fan” Watching Allen Play
In a 2015 interview with Masslive, Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens said of hiring Allen, “I was always incredibly impressed with [Allen],” Stevens said in 2015 to masslive.com. “I have talked to players that have played for him that love him, and I knew about him as a fan watching him play, being a guy that has always appreciated smaller schools and what they can do. The bright lights were on him and he was a great player. He’s a great person, and we’re looking forward to having him around.”
Source: Heavy Sports