He May Get ‘Heat’ for This, But Ray Will Always be a Husky to Me!
This truly comes from the heart of a Connecticut Yankee! “Ray Allen Rocks!” And now, because the draft is here and billions (it seems like) professional free agents are on the market, Ray Allen has been in the news. Why? Because next season he will don the jersey of the NBA winners – The Miami Heat.
Now, yes, I was all for the Thunder, simply because I am a total ‘router’ for the underdog, but when it comes to Ray Allen, I can’t say enough. He began it all inside the doors of UCONN in Hartford, Connecticut. As a girl who was born and grew up in Litchfield County and watched UCONN at all times with my father, Ray was one of those ‘must-see’ players who you knew was headed for absolute greatness. It is no surprise that the winners of the whole darn thing would rush to sign the man, even though the Celtics did a great deal to keep him in their court.
Now you have to understand that Ray is no ‘ordinary’ basketball great. When he was attending UCONN he walked away with his All-American status, as well as earning the title of USA Basketball’s Male Athlete of the Year. It was in his final season while in college that Allen garnered the Big East Player of the Year award and completed his UCONN career coming in third on the Huskies all-time scoring list with 1,922 points. What was truly amazing to watch when it came to Ray Allen at UCONN was his unbelievable ability to score those three-pointers. In fact, the man was (and still is) the King when it comes to being able to make sure that ball goes into that net no matter where he’s standing on the court at the time. No offense, but even LeBron can’t ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to three-point perfection. Ray can, and did, when he set another UCONN record by scoring one-hundred-and fifteen three-pointers in a single season. So it was no surprise that in 2007, Ray Allen’s name and number were given great honor during the “Huskies of Honor” ceremony during halftime at the basketball game of the Huskies versus Syracuse.
2007-2012, were the years that Ray gave his absolute ALL to the Boston Celtics. He was the best of the best, actually passing the 170,000 point level for his career in 2007. In 2008, he and the mighty LeBron James met up in a different sort of competition during the NBA All-Star game. When it came to this match-up in New Orleans, LeBron did walk away with the MVP award. However, this was quite the controversy, seeing as that there was a serious ‘freak-out’ by analysts because they believed that Allen actually should have received the honor. The Celtics were definitely his family for quite a while and Ray found himself receiving accolades for being the third best in a list of the twenty greatest players to ever wear a Celtics jersey.
He certainly deserved it! One of the greatest ‘moments’ in basketball comes from 2008, when Ray brought the Celtics back from a twenty-four point deficit (the largest comeback in the history of the NBA Finals). And he was not nearly done. It was June of that year, when the Celtics were playing in Game Six of the Finals, that Ray actually set another record – downing seven three-pointers in a performance that has been rarely matched or equaled ever since.
The one fact that has always remained when people speak about the Celtics is the name, Larry Bird. Unarguably, Bird was the ‘elite’ player of the Celtics (as well as most other teams in the NBA). He was the ‘it’ man who oozed talent the second his feet hit the court. So in 2009, when Allen actually broke the franchise record of consecutive free throws that was set by Bird, he certainly showed that he was the ‘it’ man for the 21st Century.
And that was not the only record he would steal away from a ‘big name’ in the NBA. Michael Jordan will, again, be the name everyone remembers when it comes to the ‘best’ in basketball. And when Ray Allen had the ‘nerve’ (LOL) to break Jordan’s record of six three-pointers in ONE half, he again made history!
Free agency has appeared in Ray Allen’s career before. In 2010, he actually scored a twenty million dollar contract as a free agent when he re-signed with the Celtics (who were definitely not dumb enough to lose one of the best players they’d ever had).
Again, he didn’t disappoint the Celtics or make them feel as if they wasted one cent of their money. He went on to become the all-time NBA leader in total three-point field goals ever made, and was named to his TENTH ‘All-Star’ appearance.
Now, in 2012, Ray Allen has turned down the extra 2 ½ mil that the Celtics shelled out in order to keep their ‘main man,’ and decided to go to the Heat and play alongside LeBron. It is odd for a longtime Allen fan to see him ‘stray’ but, of course, you are talking about the winning team right now – the one that’s sitting atop the pyramid. And, perhaps, with the addition of Ray they will find themselves getting the back-to-back wins that they and every other sports team in the world want with a passion.
Ether way – whether a Celtic or a LeBron James teammate – Allen will always remain, to this fan, a member of the Huskies. He is the ‘gold’ in the UCONN dynasty which is actually growing larger each and every day.
Ray has been on many a court in his career playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and Seattle SuperSonics before finding his home with the Boston Celtics. His resume will always include being the most accurate three-point shooter in the league; he will be that ten-time All-Star (and most likely even more); as well as having an Olympic gold medal placed around his neck. And there will be a great many fans (certainly all the ones sitting in Boston, Massachusetts) who will call him all kinds of names now. But, in the end, I will always love Ray Allen for being on that television screen when Dad and I got to ‘hang out’ and cheer for our hometown team! He is part of my most treasured memories, and I wish him a whole lot of luck!
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