Although Ray Allen hoisted his last pretty jumper in a Game 5 loss in the 2014 NBA Finals as a member of the Miami Heat, he never officially retired. Though he's hinted that his playing days were over, teams were still making overtures to see if he'd be interested in coming off the bench for a title contender.
Today, he laid all of the rumors to rest in an emotional letter that he wrote to his 13-year-old self, which was published today by The Player's Tribune.
It's a walk back in time to moving around the world as a military brat, the angst he felt on always being the new kid that people didn't get a chance to know. He talks about his time at UCONN, where Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun showed him what hard work, and the game, was all about.
And he talks about what his nearly two-decade career will mean down the road.
"You’ll put up more than 26,000 shots in your career," he writes. "Almost six out of 10 won’t even go in...Don’t worry, though. A successful man is built of 1,000 failures. Or in your case, 14,000 misses."
He discusses what makes a champion, the great players he competed with and against and how, ultimately, championships really aren't the point.
"But if I’m being real with you, what you’ll realize after you win the first title is that the thrill is fleeting," he writes. "The vindication is fleeting. If you only chase that high, you’re going to end up very depressed. The championships are almost secondary to the feeling you’ll get from waking up every morning and putting in the work. The championships are like when you were sitting in class at UConn with your shirt and tie on. They’re just the culmination."
Ray Allen won two NBA titles, delivered a memorable performance as Jesus Shuttlesworth in He's Got Game, was a 10-time NBA All-Star and he's the league’s all-time 3-point scoring leader. It's pretty safe to say that he walks away having gotten as much from the game as he possibly could.
And as much as he received, he always walked with class and dignity, giving us, the fans, something to cherish and enjoy. Thanks Ray.