As developed in detail within an article by Jay King of Masslive.com, Tommy Heinsohn and Bob Cousy were recently asked about Ray Allen and his status as a Celtics legend. As they both are Celtics immortals, they should know a thing or two about the qualifications required to have one's number hanging from the rafters.
Their answers may be a surprise.
As originally reported by Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports, Heinsohn said:
"I’m not in charge of retiring numbers, but, yeah, I would retire his. It should be retired. He helped them win a championship (in 2008). He was great when he was here. ... In this modern era of free agency, that was his decision to make (to go to Miami)."
Cousy agreed saying:
“I would retire his number. He was an integral part of the 17th title team. If you’re marketing your team in sports, it’s about what went on in the past and (going to Miami for Allen) shouldn’t keep that from happening. ... He’s a big boy. He can go where he wants. I assume he thinks he’s got a better shot at a championship than in Boston.’’
Perhaps now is not the time to consider that question, as most of us can only think of "Benedict Allen". Why should he be celebrated by the Celtics when his last hurrah was turning a two-year, $12 million offer from the Celtics only to sign for a lot less money ($3 million per year) with the rival Heat.
Since retiring one's number is at the discretion of the team, there's got to be a loyalty factor to consider here. And there lots of recent yapping going on by Ray as discussed by SB Nation Boston, leading Doc to simply say yesterday:
"We’re just going to let Ray keep talking. It’s easier."
In favor of Ray's No. 20 being retired, Heinsohn and Cousy point out that Ray was an integral part of the Celtics winning championship No. 17 in 2008 . . . where he was an MVP candidate in the Finals.
But John Havlicek and Dave Cowens were of the opinion that 5 years of loyalty is not enough.