In it, various former Boston Celtics players, staffers and coaches fawn over what a brilliant person, player, and team leader Ray Allen was. How his voracious appetite for learning was only matched by his diligence when it came to improving upon and, eventually, sustaining his record-setting professional craft. Within the anecdotes, Paul Pierce discusses the magical 2007-through-2012 run that made the Celtics so fearsome with Allen as a prominent member.
The must-read feature also discusses, briefly, Allen’s departure from Boston Celtics. And, because we’re only after the nasty bits, we thought we’d highlight Paul Pierce’s mood surrounding the future Hall of Famer’s jump to the detested Miami Heat just weeks after the Celtics fell in Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference finals to the Heat.
“That was a tough situation because we thought it was betrayal,” Pierce said. “That’s why the whole thing evolved like it did with us not talking to him. Ray didn’t really have the best relationship with Rondo anyway. That was nothing. [Rondo], me and Kevin, he didn’t have any talk with us [before his Miami decision].
“I tried to call him and I didn’t get any return calls before he signed with Miami. That was our rival. We were brothers. We came in together. We just wanted a heads-up or a ‘what’s on your mind?’ or something like. Then, all of a sudden, he left. That was the biggest disappointment on my end. Not even getting a callback at that moment.”
Some players don’t like to be persuaded, and that’s understandable. Good vibes and an interest in pleasing everyone can leave you convinced that you should, say, put your name on the dotted line and commit to an Orlando Magic club featuring Quentin Richardson and Chris Duhon even though you clearly dislike the group.
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Ray Allen probably didn’t dislike the Boston Celtics, save for the perpetually salty (and sometimes suffused with slurs!) Rajon Rondo. He did see the writing on the wall, though.
The 2011-12 Boston Celtics didn’t appear to be in the mix for championship contention heading into the playoffs until the top-seeded Chicago Bulls lost their star and reigning MVP Derrick Rose to an ACL tear in the first game of Chicago’s playoff run. With Joakim Noah also falling victim to an ankle sprain, Philadelphia downed Chicago and took Boston to seven games in the second round before the C’s prevailed.
For the first five games of the Eastern finals against Boston, LeBron James fell back on bad habits in letting the action come to him – or nowhere near him – prior to dominating a must-win Game 6. From there, with LeBron locked in, the Heat moved on to take the championship.
The Celtics success was well-earned, but fleeting. And Allen, pushing 37 and now four years removed from his lone title, jumped at the chance to enter the champs’ party. It’s one thing to not want to be left smitten with a team that doesn’t suit you. It’s another to face up to a longtime teammate to relay the real reason why his time on top is up.
Paul Pierce, in a way, followed Allen’s lead. He gave Boston his blessing prior to the Celtics’ dealing of Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets a year after Ray Allen’s move (and weeks after Allen’s championship win with the Heat) in 2013.
A summer later he followed that up by signing with the Washington Wizards, and in 2015 Pierce returned home to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. Paul Pierce hasn’t been a Boston Celtic for 40 months, at this point.
And, as is the Clipper Way, he’s found a chance to let out a little crank ‘ere and there. From an appearance on Any Given Wednesday, as led in by ‘Ted 2’ earlier this week:
With takes like these, Paul Pierce is due for a rather fruitful career as midday cable television sports commentator following his impending retirement.
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