By Lisa Nault
Former Boston Celtics star Ray Allen officially announced his retirement from the NBA last week. He had played 18 seasons in the NBA, five of those with the Celtics. He was an essential player for the Celtics before he accepted a new contract with the Miami Heat back in 2012. Fans had commonly referred to Allen as one of the Celtic “Big Three;” a title given to the best players on the team during that era. The other two “Big Three” athletes were Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Despite not playing since the 2014 season, fans expected Allen to get back in the game eventually. There were rumors that he was going to make a comeback with another team according to ESPN. However, Allen dispelled those rumors in his retirement announcement published in the form of a letter to his former self. In the letter, he wrote how he struggled to form an identity when he was younger. His family moved around as a result of his father being stationed at various Air Force bases, so he found it difficult to relate to his peers. Allen then explains how playing on a basketball court gave him purpose:
“You’ll be the enemy to a lot of people simply because you’re not from around there. This will be both the toughest and the best thing that will ever happen to you,” he wrote. “What I want you to do is this: Go to the basketball court. Stay at the basketball court. You can build your entire existence there.”
Allen proceeds to describe the obstacles he faced on his journey—be it the naysayers or those who told him he would be a benchwarmer. He ends the letter by stating that most people may never know the real him but they will know his work and he is at peace with his career.
Fans will look back on his career and see a man who was dedicated and a leader. Allen was a two—time NBA Champion: Celtics 2008 and Miami Heat 2013. He was declared the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year in 1995, won the Olympic gold medal as a member of the USA summer team in 2000, and was the NBA All-Star Weekend Three-point Shootout champion in 2001. He surpassed former Indiana Pacers player, Reggie Miller’s 3-point shooting record to became the all-time NBA leader in 3-point field goals; Allen’s record is 2,973.
Even though he did not end his career as a Celtics player, his impact will not be forgotten. Fans as well as his own teammates knew that under pressure and against the odds, Allen would manage to bring the team to victory. Allen now plans to enjoy his retirement by raising his five children in Florida. Fans may still hear about Allen in the future as his retirement announcement now makes him eligible for the Hall of Fame Class of 2019.