Today, Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 marks the day that there is not one player left in the NBA that was drafted in 1996 — officially.
No, Kobe was not the one to make this final last December.
Ray Allen, a.k.a Jesus Shuttlesworth, a.k.a “Showtime”, a.k.a RayRay announced his formal retirement today the same way his ex-teammate Kevin Garnett did with an Instagram post, followed by the same way same draft class member Kobe Bryant did by writing a sentimental article for The Players Tribune.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s probably the same thing Allen’s old Celtic’s teammate said: “I thought he already retired?”
Ray Allen departed from the league in 2014 after two seasons with the Miami Heat, and no one really heard from him since.
Now we know, he’s walking away from the game for good.
This new generation of NBA fans watches Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, in awe of their ability to shoot the ball from beyond the arch. After all, they are the splash bros.
But for the past 18 years, the NBA knew shooting guard Ray Allen, for, that. Being a damn good shooter.
The 10-time All-Star is 1st all-time in career 3-point field goals. Ray Allen made 2,973 3-pointers in his 18-year career — the most in NBA history.
He was called Jesus Shuttlesworth for two reasons:
- It was the character he played in the movie directed by Spike Lee, “He Got Game.” Allen played Jesus Shuttlesworth, who was the best high-school basketball player in the country with a deadly jumper.
- Because of this character he played, it defined him for the next 13 years. His Miami Heat teammate said: “Any player who ever played the game watched He Got Game. We all wanted to be Jesus.”
But Allen is an ultimate pro. He was always the first to the gym and last to leave. Was his athleticism a God-given talent? Of course. But his jumper was not. His biggest threat was a result of hard work and practice.
“God will give you a lot of things in life, but he’s not going to give you your jump shot. Only hard work will do that.”
It started 20 years ago, with his game-winning shot to take the NCAA Big East Title. The game was known as “Allen vs. Allen.” Ray’s UConn Huskies played against Iverson, yes Allen Iverson’s Georgetown Hoyas.
Ray Allen’s team finished 17-1 during the regular season, falling only to Georgetown. So, Allen and his squad were motivated. Ray Allen was on fire that night too. But they were trailing since the halftime mark, and the Hoyas took control of the game, even though Iverson was on the bench most of the time due to foul trouble.
The Huskies had one final possession with time winding down, and there a play was in motion. Allen was originally supposed to be making a pass, but his defender jumped in the passing lane. He had nowhere else to throw it, so he threw it at the rim. He got the shot off, pumped the ball a few times in the air, twisted his body mid-air, and it went in.
Allen Iverson took control of the ball for the final 13.6 seconds but missed the three-point attempt and his teammate missed the put-back.
The Huskies won 75-74, thanks to Ray Allen’s shot. The Huskies female assistant coach also got bodied, also thanks to Ray Allen — they both ran onto the court at the same time and he had so much adrenaline pumping through him, so he unintentionally decked her.
He’s ranked the fourth player in Huskies history for points per game at 19.0, and first for three-pointers made at 44.8%.
Allen went on to be drafted 5th overall in 1996 by the Milwaukee Bucks. There, he had memorable and vigorous battles with, at the time, Toronto Raptors’ Vince Carter.
In 2003, he got traded to the Seattle SuperSonics (which are now the Oklahoma City Thunder) and four major career moments happened during his five-year period with them.
- Allen started a war with Kobe Bryant. He said Bryant was “alienating teammates” trying to prove that he did not need Shaquille O’Neal to win games and rings. Bryant responded by saying “don’t even put me and that dude in the same breath.” Kobe made sure to let Allen know how he felt on the court.
- He signed a 5-year, $80million contract in 2004.
- On April 7, 2006, he moved into second place on the NBA’s list of all-time 3-point field goals made, just behind Indiana Pacers’ Reggie Miller.
- On January 12, 2007, Allen scored a career-high 54 points against the Utah Jazz.
2007 was the beginning of the most significant time in his career: joining the Boston Celtics. He joined the legendary Big Three with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and in 2008 he won his first championship.
In the series-ending Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Allen tied an NBA Finals record with seven three-pointers. The Celtics won 131–92 against Kobe and his Los Angeles Lakers.
Boston was also where fans would fall in love with Allen’s number one fan: his mom and her bedazzled #20 jersey.
But, his shooting wasn’t always Jesus-like and money balls.
In the 2010 Celtics vs. Lakers NBA Finals rematch, Kobe Bryant hit the game winner in Ray Allen’s face to win 90-89. However, with 7.2s left, Allen had a shot opportunity right at his sweet spot: the three-point line. It bounced around, then off the rim. They suffered defeat by the Lakers that year.
Not only did they lose, but Allen’s inconsistencies were evident in the 2010 Finals. He had a 0-for-13 performance in Game 3, scoring 2 points in 42 minutes and a 3-for-14 night in Game 7, 13 points in 45 minutes.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, many Bostonians are still having a hard time forgiving his next career move. After his Celtics lost in the Eastern conference to the fresh-faced Miami Heat team that was made up of LeBron, Bosh, and Dwayne Wade, Allen took off the Green and White jersey to wear the Red and White in South Beach.
Not only did he sign with the rivals, but Allen went on to produce the biggest play of the 2013 NBA Finals with his miracle 3-pointer in Game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs. The Heat went on to win Game 7, giving RayRay his second championship ring.
The first thing Allen heard in the locker room was: “great shot, Jesus.“
This retirement is the first time we’ve heard of him since 2014. He’s 41 now and is “completely at peace” with himself and his decision.
His Jordan sneaker player exclusives will not be forgotten, as well as his presence. NBA fans can’t help but feel the loss of so many legends following this announcement.
With that, we say congrats, Ray Allen, on an outstanding career!