Ray Allen, one of the NBA’s finest shooters, finally announced his retirement today.
Allen last played in an NBA game in 2014 as a member of the Miami Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals. He became a free agent when the season ended. No team picked him up, or rather, no team really interested him enough to play, so he opted to sit out the 2014-15 season to focus on coming back the following year. Despite rumors of returning to the NBA to play for a championship contender, the entire 2015-16 season went by without him joining a team. Now today, one week into the 2016-17 season, Allen has announced that he is officially retiring.
He made the announcement via Derek Jeter’s The Player’s Tribune, which also announced the pending retirement of his former Boston Celtics teammate Paul Pierce as well as Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
Allen shared the news by writing a letter to his 13-year old self.
Here is an excerpt:
Tomorrow when you get off that school bus in South Carolina, you’ll have to choose.
Every day for the rest of your life, you’ll have to choose.
Do you want to fit in, or do you want to embark on the lonely pursuit of greatness?
I write this to you today as a 41-year-old man who is retiring from the game. I write to you as a man who is completely at peace with himself.
The hell you experience when you get off that bus will be temporary. Basketball will take you far away from that school yard. You will become far more than just a basketball player. You’ll get to act in movies. You’ll travel the world. You will become a husband, and the father of five amazing children.
Now, the most important question in your life isn’t, “Who am I supposed to be?” or even, “What do I have to do to win another championship?”
It’s, “Daddy, guess what happened in math class today?”
That’s the reward that awaits you at the end of your journey.
Allen’s retirement all but seals an era of NBA basketball. Allen was drafted in 1996, the same draft class that included recent NBA Hall of Fame inductee Allen Iverson, future first ballot Hall Of Famer Bryant and two-time MVP Steve Nash.
In the 2016 off-season alone we have seen Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett hang up their jerseys. Pierce announced that this season would be his last playing in the NBA. The only big names remaining from their era are Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki.
After spending his early years with the Milwaukee Bucks and his prime years with the Seattle Supersonics, Allen finally won his first championship ring with the Boston Celtics in 2008. He would go on to win two more with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013.
Allen will be remembered as one of the purest shooters in NBA history. He will also be remembered for his role as Jesus Shuttlesworth in Spike Lee’s 1998 film He Got Game where he co-starred with Denzel Washington. But most importantly, he will forever be known as the king of Air Jordan player exclusives.