Nearly fifteen years ago, in the summer of 2007, the Boston Celtics thrust themselves back to basketball relevance with the acquisitions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, joining Paul Pierce to form the last Celtic powerhouse in the league. In just their first season together, the collection of superstars won the NBA championship and contended for another title in 2010 but fell to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Boston’s big three made the Celtics the best team in the East for a few years, eventually giving birth to a younger and more championship-starved trio down in Miami.
By the first year of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh‘s tenure with the Miami Heat, it became clear that there was a new contender in town. The Heat eliminated the Celtics in the 2011 Playoffs, which signaled a changing-of-the-guard in the Eastern Conference, and apparently, one member of the Celtics’ big three noticed. The following season, Ray Allen joined the Miami Heat in free agency, giving the Heat one of the greatest shooters to play the game alongside LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. Since then, the rift between Allen and the rest of the ’08 Boston Celtics has been well-documented, but is one of the longest rifts in NBA history about to come to an end?
When asked about Ray Allen leading up to the former’s Hall of Fame Induction, Pierce said the above, which suggests that things are cool between the two. This comes as no surprise, given that the relationship between the two greats has reportedly been civil for some time now. However, Allen was not present at Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement some years ago, and apart from The Truth, none of his former Celtic teammates seem to be interested in making amends.
With Garnett’s jersey retirement in Boston coming next season, it looks as if we are getting close to finding out whether this feud will ever come to an end. It has been reported that Garnett is the one who is least keen on rekindling the relationship with this former teammate. In fact, KG left right after Paul Pierce was done with his speech, possibly looking to avoid any unnecessary interactions with other people in attendance. Do note that Allen was also present at the ceremony, not for the Celtics, but for the Hall of Fame induction of his Miami Heat running mate Chris Bosh.
Great teams aren’t always composed of guys who like each other, but the rifts between key players have a way of impeding progress, especially when guys are as competitive as NBA players. However, next year will mark 15 years since the Big Three in Boston came together and it would be simply amazing to see them celebrate that moment with a rekindling of the relationship at KG’s jersey retirement ceremony.
Yes, they eventually played against each other on rival teams, but so did Shaq and Kobe, and they were able to patch things up. Ray Allen hit the biggest shot in Miami Heat history and was a special part of a team often referred to as The Heatles, but that doesn’t mean he was not an integral part of that championship in Boston either. Fifteen years later, it’s time to do what most NBA players have difficulty doing, celebrating what was accomplished versus lamenting over what was missed.