Twenty years, eighteen seasons. Ray Allen says it’s over.
“I write this to you today as a 41-year-old man who is retiring from the game,” says Allen in his letter published at The Players Tribune.
We were caught off guard. At least most of us. We were expecting him to come back. We wanted him to come back. We wanted to witness him shield and ward off Stephen Curry from stealing his 3-point King throne. He was a competitor. A fierce one. He wouldn’t yield to this kid.
But, to no avail.
“I write to you as a man who is completely at peace with himself.”
Perhaps, this shuts down all thoughts that he is threatened about his legacy. Greats know where their position is, and whether it is tattooed on eternity or just an ephemeral reign.
Three-point baskets in clutch, daggers, barrage of them to rout his opposites to desperation. He frustrated Kobe while wearing green. He left Timmy disheartened on the bench while watching him launch and drain a game-tying triple from the right corner for Miami. He handed KG’s first ring; he saved LeBron’s second. He has shared moments with the greats, but he owns the greatest of them.
Allen is a workhorse. His range and touch did not happen overnight. It took him countless hours in the gym, shooting tons in long range. Swish, swish, brick. Back to one. Splash then muffs. Repeat again. No excuses.
“But in order to achieve your dreams, you will become a different kind of person. You’ll become a bit obsessive about your routine. This will come at a heavy cost to some of your friends and family.”
Championship rings, All-Star selections and even an unquestionable future Hall of Fame citation, you name it. All these are just cherries on top of his commitment to hardwork and passion for the game.
He could have opted to return for the Cavs, to spread the floor and wait for a kick out from Lebron; or form a deadly Splash Trio with Steph and Klay with the Dubs and come off a bone-crunching, balls-wrecking screen from Draymond before taking a three. He could have made a comeback for more titles, or to maintain leverage over the three-point King bragging rights.
But he did not. He knows what real success is all about.
Now speaking as a fan, I say, it was a helluva career, Rayray. From you acting in the movies, to being the perimeter virtuoso at the biggest stages of basketball, I’ve witnessed them all. Thank you.
We’ve all waited for your return, but you made us realize that all those chases are immaterial. You’ve known where your position is before we do. And that makes you great, a legend. In eternity. Forever. Thank you for letting it fly, Shuttlesworth.