In what will come as a surprise to very few, former Sonic Ray Allen has been named a first ballot Hall of Famer. He will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts on September 7.
It’s hard to argue against. Allen’s list of accomplishments is long and storied; two-time NBA Champion, ten-time NBA All-Star, two-time All-NBA, 2001 Three-Point Champion, three-time gold medalist, two-time All-Big East, 1996 Big East Player of the Year, 1995 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year, 1996 UPI Player of the Year... whew. Throughout his career he averaged 18.9 points per game, shooting 40% from beyond the arc, where he made an NBA record 2,973 shots.
Allen is known to Sonics fans as the centerpiece in a trade that sent Gary Payton out of the green and gold. Allen, along with Ronald “Flip” Murray and former University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie, was acquired in exchange for Payton and Desmond Mason. The Sonics weren’t projected to do much after the loss of Payton, but instead Allen and Rashard Lewis led them to the Conference Semifinals in 2005. In his five years in Seattle, Allen averaged 24.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per game, shooting 44% from the field and 39% from deep. His 26.44 points per game in 2006-07 and 3.45 threes per game in 2005-06 are both Sonics records. He is seventh all-time in points scored for the team.
He also famously beefed with Kobe Bryant.
Allen will be joined in the Hall by Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Maurice Cheeks, Tina Thompson, coach Lefty Driesell, Charlie Scott, executives Rick Welts and Rod Thorn and Dino Radja, Katie Smith and Ora Mae Washington. While the Basketball Hall of Fame doesn’t have the same type of debate as the Baseball Hall of Fame as far as what team a player represents, both Gary Payton and Spencer Haywood have made particular mention that they went in as Sonics. “I owe it to Seattle to be a Sonic,” Haywood said. Other Sonics in the Hall include Lenny Wilkens, David Thompson, Dennis Johnson, Šarūnas Marčiulionis, and, sure, Patrick Ewing.
It’s most likely that Allen would want to be a representative of the Milwaukee Bucks, the team that drafted him and where he spent the first seven years of his career. He could also choose to go in as a Celtic, where he won his first Championship, although there is reportedly bad blood there.
Perhaps Allen will go in as a Sonic. He was reportedly vocal about the Sonics relocating and has said he wished he had done more to keep the team in town. He has also been vocal about wanting to see a team back in Seattle. No matter what, Allen was a great Sonic, a great player, and a great man and he deserves this moment. Congratulations Ray Allen!