Ray Allen has finally decided to hang up the sneakers. Despite not playing in an NBA game since 2014 (which makes him eligible for the 2019 Hall of Fame class), Allen took to the Player’s Tribune to announce that he was officially bringing his 18-year career to a close.
Rumors had floated for the past two seasons about Allen potentially returning to NBA action, but in the end the 41-year-old decided that he was at peace and ready to start his life after basketball.
During his time in the NBA, Allen played for five different teams, the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle Supersonics, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat. He was named to 10 All-Star teams and won two NBA championships.
Allen will forever be known for his ability as a shooter. For his career he shot 40 percent from beyond the arc and currently holds the record for most threes made in NBA history (2,973).
His form was as close to textbook as you’ll see. Most importantly, it looked exactly the same every time he shot the ball. Didn’t matter if he was draining a three, sinking free throws, knocking down turnaround jumpers or pulling up off the dribble. Every time Allen raised to shoot it looked just like the last jump shot he took.
“Everyday Ray” was an earned moniker more so than a nickname. Allen was notorious for the work he put in during practices and in pregame shootarounds.
Well, Allen has been practicing that type of situation regularly. Heat head coach Erik Spolestra recalled witnessing it in action during Allen’s first workout with Miami. Allen would lie on his back under the basket and when a member of the staff blew a whistle he would jump up and sprint to a corner and tuck his toes behind the line before attempting a shot.
However, what often gets lost in the endless highlights of his picturesque jumper was how great of an all-around player Allen was.
As easily as he rained in jumpers, he was just as likely to rise up and slam it home on a defender’s head. Allen also was able to create his own offense off the dribble.
Forgotten over time, Allen’s seven seasons with the Bucks and five years in Seattle produced some of the best shooting guard play we saw from the mid-90’s and into the late 2000’s. He averaged 22.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4 APG, on 39.6 three-point percentage and 90.4 free-throw percentage.
Over that same stretch, only six other players totaled those numbers or higher in more games than Allen (Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, Gary Payton, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, and Kobe Bryant).
His seven seasons in Boston and Miami is where he was most successful in the playoffs. Though the numbers weren’t as gaudy as his earlier years, he was as dependable of a player as a team could have in the postseason. He did hold the record for most threes made in a NBA Finals series, until Danny Green broke it in 2013 and then Steph Curry bested it last season.
Most importantly, any recap of Allen’s career wouldn’t be complete without mentioning his ability to bring to life Jesus Shuttlesworth in the movie, He Got Game. Not only one of the most iconic characters in any sports movie, but one of the most recognized characters in any Spike Lee film.
“Everyday Ray”. “Jesus”. “Sugar Ray”. Whatever you called him, we must remember Allen for all that he did for the game and culture of basketball. Thank you Ray, there will never be another.