Many believe that the trio paved the way for the so-called “super teams” that have become quite the norm in the NBA today. However, contrary to what many assumed at the time, the three then-future Hall of Famers weren’t really as thick as thieves because one of the casts was just not in tune with the other two.
Ray has his own world
According to Pierce, it may be hard to believe, but Allen wasn’t really part of that Celtics' Big 3 for the most part. Pierce conceded that Ray-Ray “always did his own thing,” and by that, he meant on and off the court.
“It was a weird relationship,” Pierce said in 2015 via ESPN. “We were all good friends on the court, but Ray always did his own thing. That’s just the way Ray was. Even when we were playing together, we’d be having a team dinner and Ray wouldn’t show up. We’d go to his charity events but Ray wouldn’t show up to somebody else’s.”
It also added context to the infamous Allen vs. Rondo beef that was capped off by a boxing match inside the Celtics training facility.
“I remember when Rondo re-signed with Boston, we had a little dinner at a restaurant and Ray didn’t show up,” Pierce continued. “I know Ray probably didn’t like Rondo that much, but it wasn’t a fact of not liking somebody. You don’t have to like everybody you play with — it’s a matter of showing support. Rondo probably didn’t like Ray either, but he came to Ray’s functions to show, ‘Hey, we’re together in this.’”
The third real member of the Big 3
Ultimately, Pierce concluded that “in a lot of ways,” it was Sam Cassell who was the third real member of Boston’s Big 3 and not Allen.
“Even the year we won it, after a game we’d say, ‘Let’s go have something to eat and have a night with the older guys.’ We’d get there and it would be me, Kevin, and Sam [Cassell], but no Ray. In a lot of ways, me, Sam and Kevin were our Big Three,” Pierce said.
Brothers for life
Allen left the Celtics for the Miami Heat in 2012. Since then, he hasn’t spoken to Pierce, and it became such a big thing for the fans and the media. To put an end to all of the buzzes, “The Truth” proved to everyone that he and Ray-Ray will “always gonna be brothers” when they crossed paths at the NBA 75 team ceremony.
“Everybody wanna know… We always gonna be brothers,” Pierce said in a live video post. “[Allen subtly acknowledged by uttering “Always” with a smile]…Everybody wanna know. There you go.”
Weighing in on Allen’s stint with the Celtics, it goes to show that sometimes, you don’t have to be friends to make history in the NBA.