Since 2012, Ray Allen has been a polarizing figure for Boston Celtics fans. It’s time to let it go and forgive him for leaving the team to join its rival.
Fans in Oklahoma City have had four years to digest Kevin Durant‘s departure for the Golden State Warriors. As the team’s star player, it was jarring to see him leave to join the very team that just defeated his Thunder in the playoffs. If this scenario seems familiar to Boston Celtics fans, it shouldn’t.
Ray Allen‘s departure in 2012 that saw him join LeBron James‘ Miami Heat was not a move on the same scale. Allen was a 14 point per game scorer by the time he left Boston. He was no longer the star he was when Danny Ainge acquired him in a draft day deal that sent Jeff Green to Seattle.
Still, he is treated as a pariah in Boston, and recent details have painted a gruesome picture:
“As you know when I left, I left as a free agent…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.”
Allen is right. They were brothers. What qualifies me to say that? Well, I would never disown someone I went to the mountaintop with. I know that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce feel the same way, and they were the ones that reached the top alongside Allen.
What is in the past is in the past. Yes, it hurt that Allen joined the Heat after battling them in a seven game dog fight in seven games of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012. But Allen did what many do in the twilight of their careers: join a contender and win a ring in his career’s twilight.
The optics aren’t ideal, considering James’ status as the chief rival of the Boston Celtics. Joining a defending champion while going from starter to role player is a tough case to defend. Maybe Allen did commit a sports sin by defecting to the enemy after being vanquished by said enemy.
But why still hold a grudge? Has enough time not passed to appreciate his contributions to the championship team in 2008 or even the Eastern Conference Champions of 2010?
Let bygones be bygones. Allen left, and won a title in his first season with a new team while the C’s lost in the first round to the New York Knicks. That sentence stings, but what does it matter now?
The 2019-20 Boston Celtics are a title contender, and the Miami Heat are not even one after the splashy acquisitions of Jimmy Butler or Andre Iguodola.
Forgive Ray Allen. He deserves it, and you owe it to yourselves.
Also, stay safe and inside.