Who Is Ray Allen?
Born in California in 1975, Ray Allen starred at the University of Connecticut before earning renown for his textbook-perfect shooting stroke with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Seattle Supersonics. Traded to the Boston Celtics in 2007, Allen teamed up with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to win his first NBA title the following summer. Later, playing with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the Miami Heat, his clutch three-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals led to a second championship. Allen is also known for his performance as Jesus Shuttlesworth in the 1998 Spike Lee feature He Got Game.
Ray Allen's Stats
Ray Allen is known as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, a reputation bolstered by his record 2,973 three-pointers made. The 6'5" guard also set the single-season record with 269 three-pointers in 2005-06 (since broken by Stephen Curry) and ranked seventh with an 89.4 percent career free-throw percentage at the time of his retirement.
Over the course of his 18-year NBA career, Allen was named to 10 All-Star teams and won two championships. He averaged 18.9 points per game, achieving a high of 54 points vs. the Utah Jazz in January 2007, as well as 1.1 steals per game and an even 40 percent from three-point land.
Wife, Family and Personal
Allen married his wife, former singer/actress Shannon Walker Williams, in 2008. They have four children together, and Allen also has another daughter, from a relationship with a high school girlfriend. He currently helps his wife with her chain of organic-themed fast-food restaurants, Grown.
Throughout his NBA career, Allen was known by teammates for his dedication to healthy habits and his love for books. He has created the Ray of Hope Foundation to assist with sports-related community programs, and has served as a spokesman for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
In November 2017, a Florida man named Bryant Coleman was awarded a temporary restraining order against Allen, alleging that the former NBA star had physically threatened him following their three-year relationship.
Allen soon filed an emergency motion in Orange County Circuit Court, in which he claimed he had been deceived by Coleman's act of "catfishing" by posing as multiple women online. Allen's attorney confirmed that the two men had reached a confidential settlement, before Coleman violated that settlement through harassment on social media. Coleman later dropped the restraining order in December.
'He Got Game'
Early in his NBA career, Allen landed a prominent role in Spike Lee's 1998 film He Got Game. He starred as Jesus Shuttlesworth, a heavily recruited high school basketball player facing pressure from his incarcerated father, played by Denzel Washington, to choose the governor's alma mater in exchange for a commuted sentence.
Despite having no acting experience, Allen held his own alongside the Academy Award winner, earning a 1999 MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Breakthrough Performance. He later appeared in the 2002 feature Harvard Man, again as a basketball player, alongside Adrian Grenier.
Selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the fifth overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Allen was immediately traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 1997 and earned his first of 10 All-Star selections in 2000. That summer, he was a member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. men's basketball squad at the Sydney Olympics.
By 2001, when he won the three-point shootout at All-Star Weekend, Allen was well renowed as one of the league's premier marksmen. With point guard Sam Cassell and forward Glenn Robinson, he pushed Milwaukee to the cusp of the NBA Finals that year, before a seven-game loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Despite being in the midst of his fourth straight season of averaging more than 20 points per game, Allen was traded to the Seattle Supersonics in February 2003.
Allen enjoyed the most prolific individual seasons of his career in Seattle, averaging an impressive 24.6 points per game during his 4 1/2 years there. He was named to the All-NBA Second Team in 2005, a year that culminated with a loss to the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs.
Although he averaged a career-best 26.4 ppg in 2006-07, Allen was bothered by ankle problems that year, ultimately undergoing ankle surgery that limited him to 55 out of a possible 82 games.
The June 2007 trade to the Boston Celtics marked a turning point in Allen's career. No longer the focal point of the offense, he shared the scoring load with the other two members of Boston's "Big Three," forwards Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The convergence of the three stars, along with dazzling point guard Rajan Rondo, propelled the Celtics to the forefront of the NBA; in June 2008, thanks to Allen's NBA Finals-tying seven three-pointers in Game 6, the Celtics bested Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers to win the title.
Two years later, the longtime rivals met for the championship again. This time, Allen set a new Finals record with eight three-pointers in Game 2, before the Lakers pulled out the win in an exhausting seven games.
Meanwhile, LeBron James had emerged as the game's dominant player for the Cleveland Cavaliers and then the Miami Heat, shifting the balance of power in the Eastern Conference. After the Heat outlasted the Celtics in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, Allen stunned his Boston teammates by signing with Miami after the season.
His role reduced even more at this stage of his career, Allen nevertheless provided crucial minutes as a backup for the Heat's own "Big Three" of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. In the 2013 NBA Finals, he showed why he remained a valuable player with the biggest shot of his career: With the Heat down by three to the San Antonio Spurs in the waning seconds of Game 6, he coolly drilled a three-pointer to send the game to overtime. His steal later cemented the win, and when the Heat held off the Spurs in Game 7 he celebrated his second NBA title.
Despite averaging a career-low 9.6 ppg in 2013-14, Allen again capably fulfilled his sharpshooter role as Miami returned to the Finals. This time there was no late-game magic, as the Spurs overwhelmed the Heat in five games.
Walter Ray Allen Jr. was born on July 20, 1975, at Castle Air Force Base in Merced County, California. Walt Sr., an airplane mechanic for the U.S. military, subsequently moved wife Flora and a family that grew to five children to bases in Germany, Oklahoma, England and back to California.
The peripatetic lifestyle finally ended at age 13 for Allen, when the family settled in Dalzell, South Carolina, near Shaw Air Force Base. Initially mocked for his English-inflected accent, he soon won over classmates at Hillcrest High School with his skills on the basketball court, earning the nickname "Candy Man" for his sweet moves. As a senior, he averaged 28.5 points per game and led Hillcrest to the 1993 state championship, earning the prestigious title of Mr. Basketball for South Carolina.
Allen became the big man on campus at the University of Connecticut, helping the Huskies win the first of three consecutive Big East regular season titles in 1994. The team advanced to the Elite Eight in the 1995 NCAA Tournament, with Allen cementing his status as one of the game's top young talents that summer by leading Team USA to gold at the 1995 World University Games.
In 1996, Allen delivered the game-winning basket to defeat Georgetown in the Big East title game, before UConn's hopes of NCAA Tournament glory ended with a Sweet 16 loss to UCLA. Still, it was a highly successful season for the star junior, who set a school single-season record with 115 three-pointers and won the UPI Player of the Year Award. Afterward, he announced he would forego his final season of college eligibility to enter the NBA Draft.
In 2007, Allen was one of 13 former UConn men's basketball players inducted into the inaugural class of "Huskies of Honor."
After sitting out two full NBA seasons, Allen formally announced his retirement on November 1, 2016, with an essay in The Players' Tribune, as part of the site's "Letter to My Younger Self" series.
Addressing "13-year-old Ray," Allen advises the military brat to ignore the taunts of other kids and stay focused on developing his game, sticking with the "boring old habits" that transform good players into champions.
"Life is about the journey, not the destination," he writes. "And that journey will change you as a person."
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