Ray Allen has long been a controversial figure in Boston.
However, the legendary shooting guard seems to look back fondly on his time as a Celtic. Allen entered the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday. Earlier in the week, he set Celtics fans abuzz when he suggested to Shams Charania that he did not expect to receive congratulations from his former teammates. Later in the week, Allen did a customary interview as part of his Hall of Fame induction trip. He had many interesting things to say about his experience in Beantown.
“People look at how I left, but I look at how I lived when I was there,” Ray told media on Thursday night. He’s not wrong- Allen was certainly the target of a lot of anger after he left the team. Allen departed Boston after the 2012 season due to apparent internal rifts with other players. The main culprit was then-point guard Rajon Rondo. That wasn’t the kicker, however. He left to go play on the defending champion Miami Heat with Lebron James. The Heat had become rivals with the Celtics, beating them on their way to the title that year. Allen also took nearly half as much money as Boston offered to take a far less lucrative offer from Miami.
Allen offered his take on that, too:
“Now, I do understand the angst that people have towards me…But, it becomes such a business that you ultimately have to decide when it’s time to fold up the tent. You gotta move on. There’s so many factors in play.”
No doubt some of those factors were the aforementioned Rondo disputes. It also may have had to do with the rising of young guard Avery Bradley at that time. But Allen has a point, it is a business. He felt that was the best path for him to wind down his career. He retired two years later.
Allen’s time in Boston meant the world to him
Allen doesn’t look back with regrets or anger, though. He said, “That to me is the most important time in my life because I had never won. And I was able to win. And that’s probably the most important thing that I want people to remember, is the time we spent together.” After years of bitter and petty feuding with members of the Celtics, it’s somewhat shocking to hear Allen call his tenure “the most important time in my life.” But he is has a point. He had enduring a long stretch in his career where he was unable to have any success. Though he became one of the greatest shooters of all time, he never won until he went to Boston.
Though many fans remember his exit, they also remember the banner he helped bring to Boston after 22 years. He was crucial in that 2008 playoff run, as the team went on a magical spurt against Detroit and LeBron’s Cavs. They then dispatched the Lakers in six games in the Finals behind Allen’s sharpshooting.
In the end, that’s the part of Allen’s legacy that will be immortalized in Boston lore, much like Allen is being immortalized in Springfield, MA.