It's been nearly 10 years since the Boston Celtics won their 17th NBA Championship, and although that title run was long before Ray Allen scorned the C's and headed to the Miami Heat the wounds he left behind haven't healed. Rajon Rondo has been organizing an early 10 year anniversary to celebrate their championship run, and Allen won't be extended an invitation to join them. Via Marc Spears of The Undefeated:
“It will be a long story about that, but it is what it is,” Rondo, who plays for the Chicago Bulls, told The Undefeated. “I don’t know a good analogy to put this in. It just wasn’t the greatest separation. It wasn’t the greatest thing that could’ve happened to us as a team, a bond. We were at war with those guys [Miami]. To go with the enemy, that’s unheard-of in sports. Well, it’s not so unheard of. It’s damn near common now.
“The mindset we had. The guys on our team. You wouldn’t do anything like that. It makes you question that series in the Finals … Who were you for? You didn’t bleed green. People think we had a messed-up relationship. It’s not the greatest. But it’s not just me. I called and reached out to a couple of other vets and asked them what they wanted to do with the situation. They told me to stick with what we got [without Allen].”
None of the guys on that team would ever downplay the role Allen played on that title team, but Ray leaving for Miami was essentially the beginning of the end for the Celtics 2nd Big Three Era. Jumping ship to your biggest rival right after you just blew a 3-2 lead to them in the Conference Finals was a sure fire way to create some bad blood from his former teammates. We all remember how Kevin Garnett reacted the first time he saw Ray on the court afterwards:
I distinctly remember a lot of the talk being centered on Rondo and Allen not getting along being a big factor in Ray's decision, but the C's former point guard made it clear that although he's organizing the get-together it wasn't his decision alone to not extend an invitation to Allen:
“I asked a couple of the guys. I got a no, a no head shake,” said Rondo to The Undefeated when asked why Allen wasn’t invited. “I would have went with the team, with the group,” Rondo said.
Although he didn't respond to comment on Allen not being included in the celebration, Paul Pierce's comments in an interview last year with Spears might provide an answer to where he stands:
“That was a tough situation because we thought it was betrayal,” Pierce said. “That’s why the whole thing evolved like it did with us not talking to him. Ray didn’t really have the best relationship with Rondo anyway. That was nothing. [Rondo], me and Kevin, he didn’t have any talk with us [before his Miami decision].
“I tried to call him and I didn’t get any return calls before he signed with Miami. That was our rival. We were brothers. We came in together. We just wanted a heads-up or a ‘what’s on your mind?’ or something like. Then, all of a sudden, he left. That was the biggest disappointment on my end. Not even getting a callback at that moment.”
Not every member of the 2008 team feels the same way, as Leon Powe wants an invitation to be extended Allen's way:
“I assumed that Ray would be invited,” Powe told The Undefeated. “That is one of my guys. My preference is that Ray is extended an invitation.”
Although it might sting a little less for Powe as he was no longer a member of the Celtics in 2012 when Ray jumped ship. As a fan I remember vividly how I felt about Allen leaving for Miami for less money. I was pissed, so I can only imagine how his teammates felt. It doesn't surprise me in the least that there's still some bad blood there. They say time heals all wounds, and maybe in another 10 years some of these guys will soften there stance when they've been separated from the game for a while.
Should Ray Ray be extended an invitation? Or I should say...Does ANYBODY think Ray should be invited?
Photo Credit - Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401
Mark Allison 3/20/2017 09:59:00 AM Tweet Edit