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Postcards from San Antonio: When A Hall of Fame Announcement Connects to Childhood

He did it. Ray Allen will be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2018. This is obviously a much-deserved honor as Allen is, in my opinion, the greatest pure shooter in the history of basketball.

However, when I hear the name Ray Allen, I am still not sure how to feel as a fan.

If you should know even one thing about me, you should know I am a MASS-IVE Boston sports fan. I eat, sleep, breathe, and live it.

That’s why my view on Ray Allen’s career is so conflicted.

My career as an NBA fan began an incredible time, Danny Ainge had pulled off one of the greatest off-seasons in NBA history, adding both Allen and Kevin Garnett to a Celtics team that already had Paul Pierce (and Rajon Rondo, who I feel similarly confused about).

Watching the 2007-08 Celtics was an amazing experience as a young fan. Allen constantly hitting 3-pointers made him an easy favorite. That year, he helped bring an NBA Championship to Beantown after discarding the much-hated rival Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

Besides bringing home the title, my next favorite Allen moment occurred during Game 2 of the 2010 NBA Finals, also against the Lakers. Allen hit seven consecutive 3-pointers. S-e-v-e-n. He would finish with an NBA Finals record eight for the game.

I remember popping up from the couch after each dagger. It was one of the most shocking performances I had seen.

Ray’s following seasons in Boston were turbulent, clashing with Rondo while also appearing in multiple trade rumors.

Then in July 2012, my fandom of Ray Allen ended. Allen signed with the new Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in Miami.

Looking back, what Allen did made total sense. Join a new super team. Live in Miami. Play with the second-best player in NBA history in James (behind the immortal Bill Russell). Live in Miami. Get away from Rondo and Doc Rivers. Live in Miami. What more could an NBA veteran want in his final run?

Moving on after a breakup is never easy. But watching the announcement that will lead to his enshrinement in the Basketball Hall of Fame reminded me to appreciate what Ray Allen has meant to my fanhood for both the Celtics and basketball.

Congrats, Ray, on a great career and reaching the zenith of the basketball world.

By Aidan Wilkins | @AidanJWilkins

 

Watching Steve Nash and Jason Kidd being officially announced as members of the 2018 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend was like a door closing on my childhood.

I can’t say I remember much from Nash’s first stint with the Suns, because he didn’t play very much. I do have distinct memories of Kidd on the Dallas Mavericks. I remember playing as Kidd in NBA Jam when I couldn’t choose the Indiana Pacers. In 2003, it felt like he single-handedly beat the Pacers in the first-round playoff series. The Nets went on to lose to the Lakers in the NBA Finals that year.

To me, their careers always seemed intertwined. Kidd was drafted by the Mavericks, and Nash’s career really took off as a member of the same organization. Both players returned to the teams that drafted them. Nash is arguably one of the best players to ever play for the Suns, and Kidd won a NBA title with the Mavericks. I have fond memories of watching them compete against each other year. Never in my life did I think I would get the chance to interview either of them.

I was lucky enough to watch both play in person on a few occasions. It was always a treat. Nash had this ability to fire off a pass at any given moment. I remember one game, in Dallas, where he was driving to the lane and going for a lay-up. He passed it to Dirk Nowitzki who was not ready for the pass. It bounced off Dirk’s face and went out of bounds. To this day, I still love telling that story.

The Hall of Fame announcement was an unexpected treat in what I’ve been calling the best field trip ever. I have often thought of the students that came before me, who put in the work on earlier trips. It is because of them and the impression they made that I am here. It’s because of them that I’ve been able to live my dreams. To everyone who has played any kind of role in this, thank you.

By Mike Williams | @MikeWritesSport

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