WALTHAM, Mass. -- Ray Allen hasn’t played since 2014, so in the minds of many the 10-year all-star had already retired.
The 41-year-old Allen made it official on Tuesday with a “Letter to Myself” published by the Player’s Tribune. Naturally, the news drew immediate reactions from several current and former Celtics.
When ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo was initially asked about Allen’s retirement, he said, “Ray who?”
Rondo, who now plays for the Chicago Bulls, told reporters on Tuesday, “I thought he’d been retired. Oh, he had a hell of career.”
A 10-time all-star, Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made (2,973) while scoring 24,505 points. One of this generation’s most clutch shooters in the playoffs, Allen won NBA titles in both Boston and Miami and is a Hall of Fame lock.
Because he has not played since 2014, Allen is eligible to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2019.
“As one of the greatest shooting guards in the history of basketball, Ray Allen defined the word professionalism,” Danny Ainge said in a statement released by the Celtics. “Ray was born with special talent, but it was his leadership, tireless preparation, and infectious work ethic that made him a great teammate and champion. We would not have won the 2008 title without him.”
Pagliuca added, “Ray was a key member of the Big Three who helped drive us to Banner 17. He is one of the best shooters and clutch players in NBA history, and we were fortunate to be able to witness his magic on the parquet. We wish him well in his retirement.”
Allen’s knack for 3-point shooting and its value has helped create a generation of long-range shooters who see him as the Godfather of sorts of 3-point shooting.
“I’m far from what he was,” said Jae Crowder. “He inspired a lot of people and I’m one of those guys.”
So is Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas who grew up in Tacoma, Washington when Allen played for the Seattle Supersonics (now Oklahoma City Thunder).
“I used to go to one or two games a year, my dad used to take me,” Thomas said. “So I’ve seen Ray when he had hair. I’ve seen when he was wearing all the nice Jordans (sneakers), everything; Jesus Shuttlesworth.”
In 1998, Allen starred in the Spike Lee film, "He Got Game" as a promising high school basketball star named Jesus Shuttlesworth.
Allen was more than just a great shooter in the NBA. His tireless work ethic and attention to staying in peak physical shape well into his late-30s, set him apart from most NBA players.
But those workouts, the tireless hours spent in the gym and at arenas three and four hours ahead of tip-off, are a thing of the past now.
Jesus Shuttlesworth has called it a career, leaving an undeniable imprint on the NBA and future generations of 3-point shooters.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry, the man who seems poised to shatter most if not all of Allen’s 3-point shooting marks, congratulated the future Hall of Famer via Twitter on Tuesday.
Thomas echoed similar sentiments about Allen.
“He’s a Hall of Famer, one the greatest shooters ever,” Thomas said. “It was great for me to see him at a young age.”