An account of Ray Allen’s record-breaking performance.
by Johnny Nguyen
“History is going to be made tonight, and it is going to be apparent. There will be a single moment, a fraction of a second, that will enter and leave, making it feel like time is completely frozen.”
The kneeling father spoke to the 7-year-old son in a tone that seem to be more appropriate for a pilgrimage than a basketball game, as they waited at a crosswalk leading to the Garden. The son’s only response was a blank stare at his father. He could not have possibly understood the importance of Ray Allen surpassing Reggie Miller’s all time three point record, even if he was gripping a banner in his hand that read, “Congrats Ray, NBA 3-Point King.” After his father’s speech however, he crossed the streets looking up at the sky as if he was expecting something to happen at that very moment. As his attention was focused upwards, his father tugged his arm to keep pace.
The entire night seemed to adopt the same tone. From overwhelmed stub collectors who were frustrated at the early arrival of people hoping to preview Allen’s pregame shooting performance, to the pro-shop worker signaling to their boss that they needed more #20 apparel; it seemed that not one single individual was unaware or not anticipant of Ray Allen solidifying his name into the history books.
Inside the Arena, Reggie Miller walks across the court to take his commentary position. As he does so, the whole crowd seems to trail his footsteps with their anything-but-subtle, stares. Ray Allen enters in his warm up. Their attention shifts. His focus seems to match theirs, as he sees nothing but the hoop. His name is shouted in the starting line-ups, the crowd roars, and still nothing, no deviation from the classic Ray Allen jaw clench. The game begins. The crowd stands up every time his hands meet the ball. He takes his first jump shot and connects. Second shot, same result. The crowd starts to become anxious as Allen has yet to even attempt a 3-pointer. There was an awkward feeling met when the whole arena began to wonder, if Allen himself, knew the significance of the night. Some even went as far to say that he knew too well, that it was the fear setting in. There was a shift in the energy of the crowd when he got the pass from KG and stopped at the three-point line. His eyes said it all. The whole arena knew it. It didn’t matter if you were a corporate CEO, an NBA commentator, a Lakers bench player, or a public safety security guard; you knew that he was going for his moment and nothing would be stopping him. He pulled up and knocked down the shot to tie the record.
We all know how the story ends on this one. There are countless articles about it. The Von Wafer steal, the pass from Rondo, Allen getting the ball, the crowd cheering, the ball leaving Allen’s hands, and as it is in the air, everyone goes silent as they hold their breath; as the ball swooshes through the net it is immediately muffled by thunderous celebratory roar. Ray Allen became the all-time three-point record holder.
Though many will be talking about the shot that set Ray one better than Reggie, I prefer Allen’s 2560th three pointer that tied it. It is not a shot anyone can take given the circumstances. You either run towards it or run away from it. Allen’s modest character platforms him to almost avoid these “attention-filled moments,” and it is his initial hesitation that makes him all the more deserving. That shot was the transitional point when Allen accepted his greatness; the 2561st is merely when everyone else recognized it. In the midst of the whole celebration, I saw the same seven-year-old that was talking to his father. It seemed that he had finally found what he had been looking for. As I followed his eyes to the Jumbotron, there was Allen, completely frozen in time, in a moment of history that will forever be his.
Johnny Nguyen is a basketball fan and sneakerhead who you may remember reading about when we profiled the store he and two friends opened in Saugus, MA. You can re-read that story here, and then go to foottraffik.com for more.