February 11, 2011
Last night, the Lakers beat the Celtics 92-86 in Boston in a rematch of last year's Finals. It was a nice win for Los Angeles, particularly as they look to reclaim their championship form. But the win was obviously overshadowed on the night by a moment of great historical importance.
Near the end of the first quarter, Ray Allen(notes) hit his second three-pointer of the game and the 2561st of his career, moving himself past Reggie Miller for first on the all-time list. It was a moment made even more notable for the fact that Miller was in attendance while announcing the game for TNT.
This isn't baseball, so the game didn't stop to recognize the achievement. But the crowd followed with boisterous applause that followed into the next stoppage of play, when Allen and Miller exchanged words and a handshake to mark the occasion. This wasn't a case of an ex-player sad to see his most notable record go -- instead, Miller was extremely gracious the entire night and gave all possible credit to Allen for his fabulous career.
Allen made one more triple on the night to place him at 2562 in his 15 NBA seasons. The league only instituted the three-point line in the 1979-80 season, but it's nevertheless not a stretch to call Allen the greatest shooter in NBA history now that he's claimed this record. Jason Kidd(notes) stands more than 800 three-pointers behind Allen at third on the all-time list, and no young players seem ready to challenge the record, even assuming that they could match Allen's impressive longevity. Add a few more seasons of quality shooting, and Allen is likely to retire with a mark that won't go down for a long time.
That's perhaps the most impressive thing about this record -- as an important member of a perennially contending team, Allen is still among the best shooters in the league at 35 years of age. He's probably going to be knocking down threes for a long time. This record is the greatest individual feat of Allen's career, but it's in no way the last time we'll hear from him.