The relationship between Ray Allen and the Boston Celtics organization, including his former teammates, has been under fire at times and it is easy to see why. There have been plenty of weird moments of shade being thrown on all sides and, because of that, it made some sense when Allen did not appear at Paul Pierce’s much ballyhooed jersey retirement ceremony on Sunday afternoon in Boston.
However, any speculation about why Allen didn’t appear at the event was put to rest on Tuesday evening, when Allen released a lengthy, heartfelt tribute to his former teammate.
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What we did in 2008 was special! Not only by Boston standards but by professional sports standards. The truth is, without any one of us on that team we would’ve never been able to do the unthinkable. Going from last place in one year to winning a championship is unfathomable. But, we did it! WE did it- Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Tony Allen, P.J. Brown, Sam Cassell, Glen Davis, Eddie House, Kendrick Perkins, Scott Pollard, James Posey, Leon Powe, Gabe Pruitt, Brian Scalabrine, Doc, Danny, everyone at the Celtics Organization, our wives, children, families, the Fans in The City of Boston and yes, me. Over the last few years I have been berated, lambasted and had my name smeared. You may not want to hear this, but I will always be a Celtic. (Fact). I will always cherish the bonds that I shared with all of my teammates and the people in the city of Boston. (Truth). We all gave everything we had. We all won and we all raised the 2008 NBA Championship banner together. (Ubuntu) Paul Pierce is the first guy that welcomed Kevin and me with open arms into his atmosphere from day one and we never looked back. Paul and I have spoken about our time together as teammates- going to battle night after night knowing we could count on one another and we have also talked about my decision to leave during free agency- a choice I made for my family. Despite what you may have heard or read or what is rumored- there is nothing but love. Paul and I are more interested in building bridges than putting up walls. To Paul, number 34, Congratulations on having your number raised up to the rafters. I salute you for your commitment to the city of Boston and to us the 2008 NBA Champions #thetruth
Within the address, Allen indicates that he “will always be a Celtic” and pushes back on the outside narrative concerning the relationship between himself and Pierce specifically. This is not the first time Allen has indicated he holds no “ill will” toward Pierce and, in September, the duo met to “bury the hatchet” and put the past behind them.
Still, this is another level entirely and Allen’s assertion that he and Pierce are “more interested in building bridges than putting up walls” should bring plenty of warm feelings to Celtics fans in and around Boston. In some ways, it remains a bit strange that the core of the 2008 title team doesn’t always appear to be on the best terms but Allen’s gesture here is encouraging to that effect and he is certainly accurate in describing that championship-winning club as “special.”