This morning started off relatively normal. I woke up and checked my phone, catching up with whatever text messages and other social media notifications I fell asleep on the night before. Pretty routine start to my day, until I got an ESPN notification that started off with “NBA.” Not much has gone on since the season started in terms of the Celtics, and that’s the only news I get concerning the NBA, so I figured this was big. I was right. Ray Allen, one of my favorite players of all time, is retiring at the age of 41.
This is coming only weeks after both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce announced they would be retiring also, and just like that, the big three is no more. I’ve been a basketball player for 16 out of the 20 years of my life, and have always looked up to these three players to model my game after. From the way Allen shot the deep ball, how Garnett played the big man position, and how Pierce basically did everything. These guys made me the player I am today, and they have no clue I even exist.
I’m truly blessed to have grown up in the era I did, where Boston sports was in the prime of its dominance, that including the 2007-2008 Celtics. That was one of the greatest times of my life. I’ll admit, since that team disbanded I haven’t been as avid a basketball fan as I used to be, but whenever someone strikes up a conversation with me about whatever the hell Lebron is doing, I make sure one of the greatest C’s teams ever gets brought up. It’s unreal to think that was almost 10 years ago, but I still remember where I was and what I was doing for every game.
So… Here comes the emotional stuff.
Thank you KG. Thank you for showing me how to use my height to my advantage on the court, while being as versatile as a point guard if need be. Thank you for showing me how important it is to perfect shut down defense down low, I owe my middle school blocks record to you. Thank you for being the a key part in why I love this game as much as I do.
Thank you Ray Allen. Thank you for making me proud to say I’m from Connecticut simply because of what you did at UConn. Thank you for being a lights out shooter with beautiful form; I modeled my shot after yours… Or tried to at least. Thank you for always making things exciting, and for being captain clutch. Down by 2 with barely any time left? Look for Ray in the corner and let him drop a dime to win it all. We’ve seen that before.
Last but not least, thank you Paul Pierce. Thank you for showing me how to be a leader on the court. Throughout your time in Boston, you proved how much you deserved to be here. Thank you for being another great #34, a number we now know is only deserved to be worn by the best of the best. Thank you for being true to this city, I was so immensely happy when you announced you’d be retiring as a Celtic after your final season. Thank you for bringing the three of you together, and making Boston believe in the Celtics again.
I’m heartbroken to see these guys retire, even though I knew it was inevitable. I learned a lot of important fundamental things from them but above all, I learned this:
No one can handle The Truth, the answer to any question is Ray Allen, and any damn thing is possible.