My first Ray Allen jersey was UCONN red, white and blue. He was one of my favorite guys since my high school days and I was so excited when he came to the Celtics in 2007. Even before we landed KG, I had already talked myself into Ray getting us into the mix in the recently weakened Eastern Conference.
Now, I am talking myself into being happy to see him go (even though I'm not happy at all).
Maybe he is just talking with the HEAT. Maybe he does hate Rondo. Maybe he is just trying to stick it to Danny for trying to trade him. At the end of the day, I can’t be mad for him talking to Miami; it’s like Ray Charles (Jamie Foxx) said in the movie: "Well, my mama always said there was nothin' wrong with talkin'."
So much about this makes sense for both sides - Ray might not be the best fit for the Celtics moving forward. He can't dribble. He can barely defend. He may or may not have a fragile psyche. Avery Bradley.
For the HEAT, Ray would be an upgrade on Mike Miller and he would get a chance to piggy-back on what looks like an NBA juggernaut – much to the chagrin of most of the country – moving forward. Sure, he’d still be coming off the bench but he’d be “the” guy spelling D-Wade. Plus, having LeBron run the point and going with a back court of Wade/Allen/James in certain situations is kinda frightening.
Ray would make much more money by staying in Boston; not to mention the fact that he and his family like it here. His wife had a local cooking show for god sake! His son, Walker, has grown up here – in the shadows of some of the best hospitals in the world. His mom – while hinting to Tommy Heinsohn this season that Ray didn’t like all the trade rumors – is a staple at the Garden (and in the Boston Marathon) in her bedazzled #20 jersey.
"I know I'm biased, but these are the best fans I've ever played in front of or ever seen in my life," said Allen after Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
But by going to the HEAT, Ray is sacrificing more than money. He’s even sacrificing more than the support of “the best fans” ever. He’ll be sacrificing a spot in the rafters of the BEST franchise ever.
The Milwaukee Bucks have retired 7 #’s and based on years of service, Ray might get his number retired there. But it’ll be close. He’s not really a Buck but I know the fans there love him. Seattle is out – I don’t see the Thunder doing anything remotely honoring Supersonics anytime soon.
The Boston Celtics have a rich tradition of celebrating key players. Some say we’ve retired too many #’s; I say we’ve won enough championships to warrant it. From the current era of Celtics, Pierce is a lock, Rondo is on his way (especially if this current contract plays out) as is KG, with 5 and soon 6 years of service with a Defensive POY and an NBA Championship so far. That alone, when coupled with the culture impact on the franchise might be enough to hang #5 in the rafters. Year 7 and 8 would easily cement his place in Celtics history.
Ray had a fantastic 5 years here. He crushed the 3 point record, won a title, hit a bunch of game winners and literally made everyone in the building either fear him or pray that he got the ball with the game on the line. He was that deadly.
My favorite Ray moment was when he would not be denied against the Lakers in what was the greatest NBA Finals comeback of all time. His 19 and 9, modest stats by all counts, doesn’t demonstrate his utter dominance of Sasha Vujacic.
Ray going to the HEAT would mean many in Boston would turn on him. Hate him. Loathe him. I don’t know exactly where I would fall on that spectrum but it would probably be more like the silent treatment.
Remember when your parents weren’t “mad” at you – they were “disappointed”??? Rough stuff. I could have been happy for Ray going to Knicks (where he’d start) or to Western Conference – except Lakers of course – but going to Miami just feels dirty...like when Officer Farva joined the Spurbury Police Department in Super Troopers.
Thorny: [upon seeing Farva in a local cop uniform] What the f**k, Farva!
Captain O'Hagan: What are you doing wearing that uniform in my station?
At this point, with him taking pictures with Pat Riley and the love-fest with Wade and James, do we even want him back in Boston?
I never got a second Ray Allen jersey. For some reason, I always waited – I could never put my finger on why I didn’t pull the trigger (and I have A LOT of jerseys). I hope he returns – if he does, I’ll be getting myself a #20 for this season.