Former NBA player and absolute legend of the game, Ray Allen, made a guest appearance on the Knuckleheads podcast where he talked about his illustrious NBA career. One of the things Allen shared was the first player that destroyed him on defense which was also the moment when he realized how good NBA players are, especially offensively.
Interestingly enough, that was none other than Glen Rice, one of the best small forwards in the NBA from the ’90s, especially during his time with the Charlotte Hornets. Allen remembers how Glen caught him on the block where he would overpower him with his size and strength, and on top of that, he had a smooth jumper that he frequently used in his repertoire of moves.
Allen also noticed that every NBA player could score, especially the good ones, and playing great defense sometimes isn’t enough.
It was Glen Rice. My man put me on the block, and it was like fresh meat he saw. I was supposed to be guarding Dell Curry, and then there was a switch off. I’m trying to figure out the league and how this game is played, and I was a liability all season long. In college, you stand next to a guy, and you act like you have a hand up and he is not going to shot it. When you get in the league, and you try that, it’s a wrap. Dell Curry looked at me like you are not going to put your hand up, and he shot it, and he didn’t even bend his legs. I looked at the coach, and he looked at me like I did something wrong.Ray Allen, via The Players Tribune
Even though Allen was gifted athletically and was a great scorer early on in his career, it took some time for him to adjust defensively. Guarding Glen Rice and Dell Curry was a great learning experience for him because he saw firsthand they can score from pretty much anywhere on the floor, which meant he needed to be in tune all the time on defense.
I’m telling you I couldn’t get in front of him, I couldn’t deny the ball, and he was 6’8, so he would get the ball wherever he wanted it. The saying that I still say now is a good defense, better offense. You don’t realize that until you play in the NBA because you can play perfect defense in the NBA, and the guy is still going to score on you no matter what.Ray Allen, via The Players Tribune