Kobe and I were drafted together (in 1996). He wanted to prove he was going to be a player. There was a little jabbing at each other. Every time we played each other, we wanted to one-up each other.
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NBA legend and Hall of Famer Ray Allen recently reflected on his career, which saw him play for the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat from 1996 to 2014.
The shooting guard is a two-time NBA champion and gained 10 NBA All-Star designations, he won an Olympic gold medal as a member of the 2000 United States men’s basketball team, he held the NBA record in career three-point field goals made in the Regular Season from 2011 to 2021 (recently surpassed by Stephen Curry), and has additionally scored the third-most three-pointers in the Postseason.
Despite these accolades – and his brilliance at three-point shooting – he says he is not amongst the greatest three-point specialists the league has ever seen.
“I wouldn’t put myself in the conversation,” he told the NBA. “The greatest I’ve ever seen, someone who was amazing, was Dell Curry because of the way he shot so efficiently without moving with the ball. It was like he could throw the ball up there.
“But Reggie (Miller) was the greatest all-around shooter, being able to carry his team, he was an assassin. When you break it down, him being able to get to the free-throw line, great coming off screens, he wasn’t a pick-and-roll player but a guy you had to know where he was every moment of the game. Guarding him was hell for me.”
The most iconic moment of Allen’s career arrived when he nailed a three-pointer with just over five seconds left in regulation that tied Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, with the Heat on the verge of elimination. Miami eventually won in overtime over the Spurs and that helped the ‘Big Three’ of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade claim a second of two championships.
“Actually, people say I saved LeBron. Well, I saved myself,” said Allen of that shot. “I had so much to be thankful for with that shot going in, but also so much thanks for LeBron making a three-pointer two possessions before, and Mike Miller hit a shot with his shoe falling off before that.
“So many things happened before that moment that put you in that situation. I don’t expect him to say thank you for saving me, because I didn’t. He did a lot of the heavy lifting and carried us throughout that year.”
Allen was selected as a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team, as was one of his great rivals in the 1990s and 2000s, the late Kobe Bryant. The 46-year-old spoke of his rivalry with Bryant, as well as his reflections on this month marking two years since the latter’s tragic passing.
“Kobe and I were drafted together (in 1996). He wanted to prove he was going to be a player. There was a little jabbing at each other. Every time we played each other, we wanted to one-up each other,” said Allen.
“I think he knew I was drafted ahead of him (Allen was drafted fifth and Bryant taken 13th) and he wanted to prove he was better and was going to have a greater impact than me. I wanted to go at him and prove what happened (in the Draft) was because that’s what was supposed to happen. We were successful in our own right. It was epic to face each other in the 2008 and 2010 Finals, playing for the two most storied franchises. It was great theater.”
On Bryant’s death, he added, “I was very sad because I felt there was more relationship for us to have down the line. To be old heads, talking about the past and joking and forming a relationship. We’d spent so much time at each other’s throats, he’s trying to take away from me what I’m trying to do, and I’m trying to take away from him.
“So why would we walk out of this game and have animosity toward somebody, just because they were paid to do what you’re getting paid to do? It’s just a game. I would love to be able to sit down and laugh about things and be brothers in arms.”
Catch the following game live on ESPN this week…
All times CAT
Monday 17 January
01:00: Sacramento Kings v Houston Rockets – LIVE on ESPN