Ray Allen still gets flack for his decision to leave the Boston Celtics and play in Miami after he won a title with Boston in 2008. But the two-time NBA champion wants to make it clear that business is what matters most in the NBA.
Allen famously left the Celtics to join LeBron James in South Florida, something that fractured the 2008 Celtics. It’s an NBA plot line that’s continued to this day, with Kevin Garnett and other Celtics often speaking out about how they felt betrayed by the move. Allen has tried to mend some fences as of late, but it hasn’t been easy for him.
Allen spoke to Hoops Hype Allen is in the midst of a promotional tour for his book, during which he’s fielded all sorts of questions related to this topic. Asked recently if loyalty exists in the NBA, Allen flatly said “no” and also clarified that it shouldn’t exist.
“It’s not about loyalty, it’s about business. We get traded, as a free agent you sign a contracts to go somewhere or wherever you need to go but you know players only have a small window to maximize their dollars, maximize their ability to win a championship,” Allen said. “And each individual player has to decide that for themselves. It’s just the nature of sports.”
Allen said that “business ultimately decides” what happens in the NBA, something that players and and fans need to understand. He said he was surprised at the “magnitude” to which people were upset when he left Boston.
“I never would have imagined just how sensitive people were about it. I understand people were disappointed because of what I meant to them. But it didn’t mean, it didn’t take away from my feeling toward the city of Boston and the people that I played for. Those were some of the most special moments I’ve ever had in my life.
So a lot of the vitriol that came from those sides it’s been very hurtful because as players we all leave. We all move on. We all retire. The teams continue on. So we have to do what we do and what’s best for our careers.”
Going to Miami, Allen said, was indeed best for his career, and he won another title there. But there are still a lot of people who don’t see his perspective on the game of basketball and that it ultimately is a business. Allen might be right about loyalty in hoops, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of people who still expect it.