Former NBA sharpshooter Ray Allen was a recent guest on The Cedric Maxwell Podcast. Allen opened up to Maxwell on a wide-range of issues during their nearly hour-long interview. One of the things Allen spoke most candidly about was his relationship with the Boston Celtics, his former teammates with the Celtics and the fans in Boston.
“As you know when I left, I left as a free agent,” Allen told Maxwell. “I left because there were so many unresolved issues that the team wasn’t considering or willing to change … it’s 2020, so you’re talking about nine years now. I’ve gotten so much hate, death threats, vitriol from Boston fans. Obviously, these guys have kind of removed me from the big three, said so many negative things about me … we’re brothers, we went through a lot, but that doesn’t change anything we’ve done. It hurt me over the course of this time just to hear some of the things that have been said.”
Boston acquired Allen from the Seattle SuperSonics at the NBA Draft in 2007. A month later, the Celtics swung a trade for Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves. That duo combined with Paul Pierce to lead Boston to their NBA-record 17th championship in 2008.
Following the Celtics Game 7 defeat to the Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, Allen signed with Miami. Garnett and Pierce saw this as a betrayal, since Allen was signing on with the team that had just eliminated them and their rivals LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Allen said about signing with the Heat, “My character has been assassinated often. It’s not just this situation … my intentions were always to win basketball games, and oftentimes I got the blame … because I could take it.”
Allen was often seen as the third-wheel behind Garnett and Pierce. On playing alongside his two Boston teammates Allen said, “I never played the game for a pat on the back. When we got thrust in situations where it was time to win games, I knew that the ball had to come around my way.”
Doc Rivers, the Celtics coach during Allen’s time in Boston, recently said he hopes the 2008 team can eventually get everyone together to celebrate. Allen said that won’t happen unless he has a heart-to-heart conversation with Garnett. When asked if Allen would be welcome at his Celtics jersey retirement, Garnett seemed more open to that conversation now than he did in the past. However, Garnett made it clear he won’t be the one to reach out.
“We’re supposed to be celebrating,” Allen said.
Given the famous stubbornness of both Allen and Garnett, it’s unlikely they’ll do that together anytime soon.