When Ray Allen came to Seattle, he had a great deal of pressure on him. He was the centerpiece in a trade that sent Sonics legend Gary Payton to the Milwaukee Bucks. While the team never showed the dominance of the 1996 NBA Finals team, Allen and forward Rashard Lewis won the hearts and minds of a fan base desperate to find something to cling to as ownership threatened to move the team out of town. With his silky smooth jumper and award winning smile, Allen became a new favorite in the Emerald City.
Allen played five seasons with the Sonics before he was shipped up to Boston for the fifth pick in the draft, which turned into Jeff Green. While he was here, Allen averaged 24.6 points and 4.2 assists, shooting 44% from the field and was named to the All-Star team four times. He and Lewis led the team on an improbable playoff run in 2005, where he averaged 26.5 points per game. He went on to win two championship rings, one with Boston and one with the Miami Heat.
Now Ray is a finalist for the Naismith Hall of Fame. Allen will join Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Katie Smith, Tina Thompson, Maurice Cheeks, Charles “Lefty Driesell, Hugh Evans, Kim Mulkey, Rudy Tomjanovich, Chris Webber, and the 1954-58 Wayland Baptist University team as the group waiting to hear their phone ring.
Allen, who appeared in the 1998 Spike Lee film “He Got Game” as phenom basketballer Jesus Shuttlesworth, certainly has the resume. He is the all time leader in made three pointers (2,973) and sits sixth all-time in free throw percentage (.894). He has career averages of 18.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He has career shooting percentages of .452 from the field and .400 from beyond the arc. He is a ten time All-Star and two time All-NBA.
The Naismith Hall of Fame class of 2018 will be announced on March 31 in San Antonio at the NCAA men’s Final Four. Here’s hoping Ray gets his name called.