CLEVELAND, Ohio — On the day of Ray Allen’s retirement, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue reflected back on the career of a “true professional,” a player he tried bringing to Cleveland.
“He said he’d get back to me and we talked a couple times my first year getting here but he wasn’t up for it so I kind of left him alone,” Lue said Tuesday prior to the Cavs’ game against the Rockets. “I know how that feels. And he’s earned the right to retire from the game when he wants to. He’s a champion. One of the best shooters of all time. He’s a (future) Hall of Famer. So, I’m happy for him.”
Even though Allen hadn’t played since the 2013-14 season with the Miami Heat and there were a few rumblings about him making a comeback, being linked to the Cavaliers, Clippers, Warriors and other title contenders, he officially ended his playing career on Tuesday afternoon.
“I write this to you today as a 41-year-old man who is retiring from the game,” he penned on The Players’ Tribune. “I write to you as a man who is completely at peace with himself.”
A 10-time All-Star, Allen finishes his career at the top of the league’s all-time 3-point list, with 2,973 makes from beyond the arc.
He goes out a two-time NBA champion. His clutch 3-pointer during the 2013 NBA Finals capped a stunning Heat rally against the San Antonio Spurs and forced a pivotal Game 7. It’s a play forever etched in Finals lore.
But Lue, who coached Allen for four years in Boston and played against him for 12 prior, says Allen’s professionalism and work ethic stand out most during a dazzling 18-year NBA career.
“Every single day he did the same routine, no matter back to backs, how tired he was,” Lue said. “Every day he did the same shooting routine before practice, after practice and before games. He would go over three hours, three and a half hours earlier, before anyone got there, and do his shooting routine every single game.
“Just his professionalism, how he was on and off the floor, I mean, it was amazing. It was a great thing for young guys to be around.”