Ray Allen, the future hall-of-fame shooting guard will turn 39 next month and, while currently battling to help the Heat get back into the NBA Finals series against the Spurs, informed Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe that retirement is an option after the season ends. We doubt Jesus Shuttlesworth would retire after coming so close to a fourth title.
Washburn starts off by informing us, “retirement is an option,” for the soon-to-be 39 year old, but that it all depends on how his body feels:
“I guess everything [is factored into the decision],” he said Thursday before the Heat lost to the Spurs, 107-86, in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. “You get away from it, you sit down and get an opportunity to think about it. It depends on how my body feels. I love the condition I’ve been in over the last couple of years. It’s just a natural progression.”
Allen is three years older than any of his Heat teammates, and he mentioned as much to Washburn, though age isn’t the reason he might hang up his kicks for good:
“I don’t look at this as an age thing for me, it’s never been an age thing,” said Allen, who was averaging 9.6 points in the playoffs entering Game 4. “I always laugh because I see the birthdates [sic] of the some of the younger guys. They’re born in the ’90s. In the ’90s! I was kicking it hard in the ’90s.
We’re at a part in Roland Lazenby’s Michael Jordan: The Life where he mentions Allen’s first encounter with Jordan at a preseason game during Allen’s rookie season in…1996! Allen played his butt off and got a compliment from MJ after the game. So, yeah, Allen was certainly “kicking it hard in the ’90s,” which is a pretty hysterical line from Jesus.
Allen will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, like most of the Heat roster (not to mention the ETO’s for the Big Three), and summed up his conversation with Washburn before Game 5 last night with a quote that speaks to the competitive fire that’s kept him going into his 18th year in the league, and was a driving force in that first meeting with MJ back in ’96:
“So, being in the locker room with younger guys, you talk about the athleticism, you talk about the strength, if anything, it rubs off on you to always keep your mind sharp, to always keep your body on point. The weight room stares at you every time you walk into the locker room. It’s just hard to not want to keep up or set the tone.”
We hope Allen keeps sharp, keeps lifting, keeps getting up his reported 500 jumpers a day, and gives us at least another year to watch him before ending his amazing career.
But after 18 seasons, we wouldn’t get mad if Ray wanted to move on to his post-playing life. He’s a remarkable worker, and will be coveted in free agency this summer not just for his shooting, but the example he sets for younger players on a team. We just hope to see a few more of Allen’s triplets rain down before it’s all done.
What do you think?
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