After Ray Allen signed with the Miami Heat, New Orleans Hornets guard Jarrett Jack tweeted out and asked if Allen should be considered a traitor. Let everyone else outside of Boston debate that. Inside the Boston sports scene Ray Allen should always be remembered for what he was and what he is: A clutch performer, a class act and one of the few legendary and storied athletes who came to Boston late in their careers and helped win a championship.
There have been many big name atheltes who have established their careers elsewhere and have then come to Boston late in their careers. Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Andre Dawson, Brad Park, Jacque Plante, Randy Moss, Pete Maravich, Dave Bing, Shaquille O’Neal just to name a few. None of them did what Ray Allen did. Come to Boston and win a championship.
Banner number 17 never goes up without Ray. While Kevin Garnett was the irreplaceable piece to that championship, it should not diminish Ray Allen’s importance to the title. Using a 2004 Red Sox analogy, if Kevin Garnett is Curt Schilling then Ray Allen is Keith Foulke. Not as heralded but just as vital.
Let’s not forget that Ray came here first and helped pave the way for Garnett and for the gathering of “the new big three”.
Traitor? Ray Allen came to Boston after 11 years in Milwaukee and Seattle establishing himself as one of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA. He immediately checked his ego at the door, kept hitting three’s and made himself part of something much bigger than himself: Banner #17. Yes, he’s going to the Celtics current biggest rival. But he’s leaving for less money, the promise of more playing time and a bigger role and the chance to make history in another city. If you consider him a traitor for that, so be it. I choose to remember Ray and his time in Boston for what it was. Clutch performances and a championship. And it was always done with that Ray Bourque, Tom Brady esque class and grace that you want your kids to emulate.
Thanks for the memories Ray. You will be missed. Look forward to kicking your butt in the playoffs.