Reggie and Ray made sure to be there when Steph Curry broke the all-time three-point record. The fact it happened in Madison Square Garden made it even more special. Shooters on that level are rare, a small brotherhood of guys who have a special appreciation for the dedication it takes to get to their level. So when asked about the best shooter of all time, both Allen and Miller gave very insightful answers.
The only person Reggie Miler would ever say is better than him is his sister Cheryl. Everyone else, Reggie's picking himself. No other mindset could bring someone to 2560 three-pointer in their NBA career. “If you were to ask us, if there was a shooting contest, all in our prime...ofcourse our competitive natures are gonna come out.”
Ray Allen was smiling in approval sitting next to Reggie, daydreaming with the rest of us about the ultimate 3 point shooting contest. Miller answered the question in a roundabout way because he wanted to make sure everyone appreciated Steph - it was his night.
“Tonight is all about Stephen and we are here to give him his flowers. I think there's only two guys [pointed at himself and Allen] in the building that understand what has gone in the making of, in my opinion, the greatest shooter of all time. Going to the gym when no one else is there, with the keys, opening it up, turning on the lights, sweeping the floor and putting up a thousand, two thousand shots.”
Reggie Miller, Inside the NBA
So for Reggie, Steph is undoubtedly the greatest shooter of all time, and I wholeheartedly agree. But Reggie did point out shooting is an art, and as such, we all have our favorites based on subjective preferences. Miller, for instance, always brought up Dražen Petrović as the best shooter he ever saw play, due to the combination of his relentless nature, courage to take any shot with confidence the ball is going in, and from a technical side, and insanely quick release.
There's a group of guys, whether it's Curry, his Splash Brother Klay Thompson, Ray, Reggie, Dražen, Dame, or specialists like Kyle Korver and Peja Stojaković, that you can pick from and not be wrong. Ray Allen named three guys who shaped him as a shooter, and one guy will catch many people by surprise.
Reggie is now third with 2560 made threes, and passing him was a big moment for Ray Allen. But he didn't stop there. Allen retired with 2972 made threes in his career, an insane number considering he averaged 5.7 attempts per game - Steph's current career average is 8.7 attempts per game.
Here's another fun fact for you to put things in perspective. Ray Allen's highest 3PA season was '05/'06 in Seattle when he took 8.4 threes a game. Here are Steph's three-point attempts per game since Steve Kerr took over the Warriors.
- '14/'15 - 8.1
- '15/'16 - 11.2
- '16/'17 - 10.0
- '17/'18 - 9.8
- '18/'19 - 11.7
- '19/'20 - 9.8
- '20/'21 - 12.7
- '21/'22 - 13.4
That's why it took Steph 789 games to break a record it took Allen 1300 games to set, and you can bet Curry will give it his all to end his career with a number that's going to stay at no.1 for a while. When asked about his best-ever list, Allen made sure to point out he takes himself out of that discussion and lets others judge his career. For him, it's about the guy he looked up to growing up, and that list had one name a lot of people don't know much about.
”I can only see what I've been able to watch growing up as a young person. Dale Ellis, Dell Curry, and Reggie sit at the top of my list. I'm who I am because of those three players, so I would never try to even say that I was at the level that they are on because all three of those guys are a part of my DNA.”
Ray Allen, Inside the NBA
When writing about his achievements, Sir Isaac Newton - the guy who figured out gravity, gave definitive proof the planets revolve around the Sun, and basically figured out how colours work (Newton's theory of colour) - famously wrote that “If I have seen further it is by standing on the sholders [sic] of Giants.”
All the truly great ones never forget to point out their contribution wouldn't be possible without those who came before them. That's why Ray Allen not only mentioning Dale Ellis, but saying he'd never put himself in the same sentence with Ellis is major. Dale, by the way, finished his career with 1719 threes, and is currently 25th all time.
What Allen understands is that Ellis had to get to his 1719 with 3.5 attempts per game, in a league that was much more physical. When talking about the best ever, we mustn't forget two things. Context is everything and the list tells you more about the person making it, than the players on it. It's a matter of taste and historical knowledge - not facts.