The NBA’s all-time leading 3 point shooter announced his retirement on Friday.
Ray Allen announced his retirement via a Player’s Tribune article saying:
Via Hayden Bird/Boston.com: “I write this to you today as a 41-year-old man who is retiring from the game,” Allen said. “I write to you as a man who is completely at peace with himself.”
Allen is among one of the greatest scorers in NBA history with 24,505 and holds the all time record for career three pointers made with 2,973.
Although Allen is mostly notable for his three point prowess, he was much, much more. He was truly a one-of-a-kind player.
To start, Allen was a college standout at the University of Connecticut where he was a two-time All-American, USA Basketball Player of the Year, Big East Player of the Year. He holds the all- time school record for three pointers in a season with 115 and is third all-time on the school scoring list with 1,922. His biggest accomplishment during his time in college was when he hit an off- balance three pointer to win the Big East Championship in 1996.
Right after declaring for the NBA Draft, Allen is also known for his starring role in the cult classic “He Got Game”, a Spike Lee Movie in which he basically played himself but when by the now famous name “Jesus Shuttlesworth.” In the movie, he portrayed a standout high school player who was nationally recruited throughout the country, much like he was in real life by colleges when he finished high school and NBA scouts when he finished his time at UCONN.
A main player in the famed 1996 NBA Draft that featured the likes of Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, and others, Allen was drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves and then traded to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Throughout his 18 year career, a total of 1300 games for the Bucks, Seattle Supersonics, Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat.
While with the Bucks and the Sonics, Allen averaged 22.1 points per game. He did this as one of the most athletic shooting guards in the game, who obviously had a deadly jump shot, but also had the ability to slash to the rim and finish over the top of defenders, making him an all- around threat. He had become a scary matchup for any guard or forward with a quick first step that could get by the best defenders and the perfect form on his jump shot that was unstoppable once he raised up to shoot.
His years with the Celtics and Heat is where he truly rounded out his championship pedigree.
Allen joined the Celtics in 2007 as part of the famed “Big Three” in Boston with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett that started this new era of forming “Super Teams” in the NBA.
Although his points per game averaged decreased to just 16.7, his impeccable shooting and clutch gene, the same that won his team the 1996 Big East Championship, began to take center stage for one of the most historic franchises in sports.
Paul Pierce, Los Angeles Clippers Forward and Celtics great, spoke on his clutch gene:
“He was the greatest shooter in my eyes until we figure out what Steph and Klay end up with,” Pierce said. “He’s the greatest shooter in the history of this game. It’s not only the big shots he made, it’s how he did it in the moment.”
This was none more apparent than during Game Two of the 2008 NBA Finals versus the Los Angeles Lakers where Allen hit eight three pointers, setting an NBA Finals record. The Celtics would eventually go on to win that series and their first championship in over 20 years.
He also had other stellar clutch performances for the Celtics including his game- winning three versus the Bulls during the 2009 playoffs as well as another clutch basket during the 2008 finals in Game Four where he converted the game- winning lay up.
His clutch gene was even more defined while with the Heat where he hit one of the clutchest shots in NBA history.
We all remember the shot that people say saved the legacy of LeBron James. The Miami Heat are playing the San Antonio Spurs in Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals down 3-2 and on the brink of another finals loss for a James-led team.
With 7.9 seconds left in the game, the Heat were down were down three. James missed a potential game tying three from the left wing and after Chris Bosh gathered the offensive rebound, he kicked it out to Allen who had back pedaled to the three point line in the right corner, and Allen knocked down the three to tie the game. The Heat would eventually go on to win the game in overtime and win Game Seven of that series to give them back-to-back titles.
The fact that he hit the defining shot of his career isn’t what tells the entire story of why he’s so special, it’s the fact that he was the type of player to prepare for that kind of moment.
Via Zach Buckley/Bleacher Report: “He would lay on the floor, pop up, backpedal, have the presence of mind to have his feet set and not out of bounds and have a coach throw him the ball,” Spoelstra recalled. “… Afterwards I said, ‘That seemed like a crazy drill.’ Why would he do something like that—lay down in the middle of the floor?
“‘He said, ‘It’s extreme, but I want to prepare myself for when I’m in the lane, I hit the floor, I’m on the ground, offensive rebound that I have the fundamentals to be able to backpedal stay in bounds and be able to knock down shots.'”
His unusual work ethic was even an anomaly even to professional athletes and it was highly respected by all of his peers. Paul Pierce also attested to this:
“He definitely was an influence on me in that aspect,” Pierce said. “I changed the way I was eating and my diet. He influenced a lot of the young guys. He didn’t drink. He ate well. He was the cleanest NBA player you can come up with.”
This is how Allen will ultimately be remembered outside of the clutch three pointers. From the beginning to the end of his career, he exemplified what it means to prepare and be ready for every situation.
His ability to be the most prepared player in the NBA is the reason why he had the ability to be the most prolific shooter in the NBA and its history.
We may never see another like him.
Should Ray Allen be considered one of the greatest scorers of all time? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.