As the free agency news are coming to a close. Ray Allen is still contemplating in returning to the NBA for another season. At 39 years old and with a body slowly deteriorating, it seemed he is inclining for retirement.
He still can run with the younger legs, he still can shoot and he is fitter than most 20 year old player. However, what nobody understand is every year, every season’s end the preparations are becoming harder. Sometimes your mind is willing but your body is not.
Ray has a border line case of obsessive-compulsive disorder and preparation is always something he valued. 18 years playing in the league and with most of his 1996 NBA draft batch retiring, longevity is an understatement.
Every game Ray Allen religiously follows his rituals. 3 hours before tip-off you will see him in the court shooting 150 threes. He practices his shooting until he gets tired until its part of his muscle memory. This is why Ray is always ready during clutch time. He doesn’t think and he doesn’t blink. He is like a cold blooded assassin ready to shoot any given day.
We all remember how Ray Allen delivered the 2013 NBA championship to Miami with his clutch performance in game 6. But it wasn’t a lucky shot or a coincidence, Ray had already envisioned that moment way before.
When he was still in Milwaukee he invented a drill wherein he backpedals to the corner and shoot without stepping on the three-point line or the sideline. Ray wanted to be prepared on those situations where you have to find the three-point line without looking down. On the 2013 NBA finals and with 28 seconds left, the San Antonio Spurs are leading within five points; Ray delivered the dagger and got his team to overtime as Miami took control in game 6 and then the penultimate game 7.
We all wondered if we have just saw the last of Ray Allen after the Spurs made a return bout and demolished the heat in Game 5 this 2014 finals. Getting back for another season would take a lot of preparation and punishment again. How much can his body take?
Others speculated that he would be back in Miami; some would say that he would play together with Lebron in Cleveland. It’s not a numbers game, we all know Ray can still contribute and become a vital player even at his age. He had a great career, winning championships and becoming an all-star along the way. There are fewer mountains to climb and he could just call it a day.
There are just no loose ends on Ray’s timeframe everything is carefully calculated.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be a gift or a curse. Ray Allen will always took pride on his conditioning and health, he doesn’t want to be a mere cheer leader to a team, like Tracy Mcgrady’s last season in San Antonio. He wants to contribute and he wants to be valued.
If he loses a step or two, no doubt Ray will retire.
When Ray was playing under George Karl in Milwaukee, Karl was upset seeing Ray Allen still smiling after Allen Iverson drop 49 points and Jason Terry scored 35 points on consecutive nights against him. Ray just shrugged and said “I can’t bring myself to see basketball as life or death”
Ray Allen comes into the league on his terms, and he goes out that way.