NBA great — and all-around class act — Ray Allen retired from basketball this week. True, Allen hadn’t played the last two seasons, but there was hope he might return and gunsling from 3 for some title contender, providing the thrill he gave Miami Heat fans on their way to the 2013 championship. Or Celtics fans before that. It wasn’t to be, however, as Allen opted to go out with the same grace he always went in with.
Congrats on a brilliant career, Ray! pic.twitter.com/gIotDf8fbb
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 1, 2016
Allen’s retirement announcement took the form of a letter to his 13-year-old self, published at The Player’s Tribune. Allen’s inspirational instruction to his younger self can be read, of course, as instructions to any 13-year-old — which is the point. The man who was known for perfecting his shot and his game through hard work pointed out that he didn’t even know what hard work was until he got to the University of Connecticut, where the coach, he told his young self, “will show you what hard work really is.” That coach’s name is Jim Calhoun. Want more Ray Allen inspiration? Despite all that work, he reports, almost six in 10 of the 26,000-plus shots he took in the NBA didn’t go in. Hey kids, that’s good enough for the Hall of Fame, where Allen will soon be.