PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas -- Should you find yourself in a conversation with Ray Allen sometime between now and, say, forever, don’t hesitate to ask him about his famous shot from last season’s NBA Finals.
Allen has not tired of talking about his quick-trigger 3-pointer that completed the Miami Heat’s miracle comeback in Game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs. Why would he, after all, not want to be reminded that the most prolific 3-point shooter in league history made perhaps the biggest 3-pointer in Finals history?
“I totally don’t mind if people define me by that shot,” Allen said. “It’s a winning shot, it put us in a situation that all of us are now celebrated for it.”
Throughout the summer Allen rarely went a day when friends, strangers or celebrities didn’t want to talk to him about it. Jamie Foxx even called Allen and asked him to feature the shot in a commercial.
“[Foxx] called me and ranted and raved about it,” Allen said. “He wants to shoot a commercial because he thinks that moment should be galvanized. He wrote a script about it.”
In July, Allen took a plane with swimmer Michael Phelps from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe for a golf tournament the night of the ESPY Awards and it was a topic on the plane.
“He said 'Screw you, man, if you didn’t make that shot I would’ve swept the ESPYs,'” Allen said, quoting Phelps. “He said if I didn’t make it and we’d lost that LeBron wouldn’t have beat him for athlete of the year.”
Often those who’ve approached Allen have told him their own stories of where they were when they saw him tie the game with 5.2 seconds left to wipe out the Spurs’ lead and force overtime.
“So many people have described to me where they were in that situation,” Allen said. “That’s probably been one of the more interesting parts of answering the question. People tell me about the shot and they have their own stories about it and that’s been fun. It never gets old.”
That goes for his teammates as well. Shane Battier had one of the greatest performances of his career in Game 7 of the Finals, hitting six 3-pointers to help the Heat win their second consecutive title. Yet often when people ask Battier about the series they want to know about Allen’s shot and not his own heroics.
“That’s a signature NBA moment,” Battier said. “People will remember that shot, hate it or love it, for a long time to come.”
Allen has seen numerous photos of the moment through photos that people have sent to him or he’s viewed on Instagram. He’s hoping to look for a way to properly commemorate the moment in his home. In the meantime, he knows that he’ll be seeing it on a regular basis as it will likely become part of the montage of historic shots that are shown every year.
“I’ve been watching MJ push Bryon Russell for 15 years now, it’s a staple of what we see on TV,” Allen said. “When you watch anyone win a championship you remember great plays. I was glad that in my time I was able to do something people will remember.”
Allen hopes the highlight will give him a touchstone to talk to kids in the future as he attempts to teach them about the importance of preparation and work ethic. Allen is well known for his diligent training, extensive shooting and focus on footwork and technique and believes that enabled him to execute under such pressure.
“It gives me legs to stand on when I talk to kids about being prepared,” Allen said. “I can describe my whole life around that single shot. It didn’t start with just that shot, it was about everything I did up to that point.”
Actually it seems Allen is more proud of how his training manifested itself than the shot itself. That’s a topic he would even like to be challenged on.
“I was really waiting for somebody at some point this summer to really tell me that was a lucky shot,” Allen said. “Because anybody that knows me or has been around me knows that it wasn’t luck. Everybody who is around me said 'Yep, that’s what he does.'”