In a way, it's the story of Ray Allen's entire career. The routine remains the same -- jump shots three hours before each game; strenuous biking, running, and weight-lifting habits to maintain condition; eating habits that include hardly any junk food and not an ounce of alcohol -- while the accomplishments continue to pile up.
After 50-point explosions, Allen's routine remains the same. After goose eggs, it remains the same. After fourteen-plus years, 1,073 regular season games, 39,757 regular season minutes, 2,559 three-pointers and counting, Allen's routine remains the same. And now he sits on the verge of setting NBA history, on the verge of a record he certainly deserves. (Boston Globe)
"It just seems like it happened so fast,’’ said Allen, who needs two three-pointers to pass Reggie Miller for the all-time career record. "When I got to the start of the season, it was somewhat painstaking because I had — I don’t know if it was 120, 130 threes away — and it was like I could do it this season or I could do it next season, and it just went by so fast.
"You look up and I’m at 90, then 50, then 30. You look up, it’s February and the season’s gone by pretty quick. But it’s just happened.
"It’s like I blinked. It didn’t seem like anything, just play regular basketball, do your job and voila. You’re sitting here. That’s pretty much how my whole career has been.’’
By "just play regular basketball, do your job," Allen means to say he's posting the best shooting numbers in his career. He's defying age in a way no shooter before him ever has. He's set to become the NBA's three-point king, and he's done it while maintaining a sense of class rivaled by few in NBA history. He's done it without a hint of scandal. He's done it while being a star. He's done it while sacrificing his personal numbers to help his team win a championship. He's done it with an untouchable confidence that hardly ever borders on cockiness. He's done it with an understated bravado, with a small fist pump becoming his signature celebration. He's done it while earning fans for all the right reasons.
I take you back to January 19, after Ray Allen hit a game-winning jumper against the Detroit Pistons. The clutchness. The field goal attempt was only his eighth of the day. The willingness to sacrifice. And he'd only hit one of them before the final shot. The untouchable confidence. He'd run off the court without banging his chest or howling like a wolf, but rather with the world's smallest chest bump for a teammate. The understated bravado. Normal humans would have hesitated after all those misses, but "I've shot the ball too many times," Allen said. The work ethic.
After the game, Allen stood in the locker room with a t-shirt revealing wiry muscles and the protruding veins of a man in perfect shape. The defiance of age. He spoke to reporters for almost fifteen minutes, as he had also done before the game. The class. When the reporters finally vacated his locker room, a Detroit Pistons assistant coach awaited. The coach introduced himself to Allen, and proceeded to ask for an autograph. "My daughter's your biggest fan," the coach said. The ability to win over fans for all the right reasons.
Allen shook hands with the coach, telling him he was well aware of who he was. He thanked the coach for the compliment, signed the autograph, and proceeded to ask the coach how his life was. The two made small talk for a minute or two. Allen, the future Hall of Famer, treated the coach, who was unrecognizable even to me (an NBA nut), like his equal. When the two parted, Allen again firmly shook the coach's hand. He told the coach it had been nice to meet him, and to send the best to his daughter. Did I mention his class?
So I ask: If this man doesn't deserve the NBA three-point record -- this man with the picture-perfect shooting form, the flawless and perfectly-maintained physique, the dedication of a monk, and the class of 100 men -- who does?