Anderson: Ray Allen's words and actions tell a very different story

Ty Anderson
February 14, 2018 - 2:32 am

Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports

Former Celtic Ray Allen broke his straight-up awkward silence surrounding Paul Pierce’s retirement ceremony by way of a sappy Instagram post Tuesday praising the friend and teammate he shares 2008 NBA Champion honors with.

In the post, Allen says everything you’d want him to, and even uses the ‘ubuntu’ tagline the Celts used to show to show off their brotherhood during their run as the NBA’s best.

But it’s a shame that saying or expressing all of this in person was apparently not as important as golfing with George Lopez on the day of Pierce’s jersey retirement.

To some, this would be considered typical and/or expected, as it’s no secret that Allen’s relationship with the Celtics and their fiercely loyal fans is still a little… touchy.

As noted countless times and described best by snake emoji comments, Allen decided to stick it to the Boston franchise that tried trading him by hitting the open market and signing with the archrival Heat. This was a move that obviously hurt everybody in Boston, especially when it came right after their 2012 playoff series loss to the Heat in what signified the true end of The New Big Three, and helped continue Miami’s reign.

Kevin Garnett took it the worst, and has held an obvious grudge for some time. He even took it to the point where he chose not to invite Allen to the ‘08 team reunion on KG’s Area 21 segment on TNT during the 2017 NBA Playoffs, some five years later.  

“People don’t understand that this is real life for us,” Garnett said last May when explaining why Allen was not included. “The situation with Ray is very sensitive. I think when we all talked about doing this reunion tour, we was talking about guys that we consider loyal, part of this group. Just being honest — my two cents, man. When Ray decided to go to the Heat, I felt like he moved on. He went to pursue another ring. He got another ring — shout to him. That’s it … It was all Celtics invited to this.”

Pierce, however, has since done his part to reunite the band.

Last June, Pierce told Boston.com that the friction between Allen and the Celtics would ‘smooth over’ eventually, and Pierce shocked everybody when he posted a photo with Allen in China with a #burythehatchet hashtag this past September. If there was a man who could and would bring them all together, it would have been Pierce.

And the day of his retirement ceremony -- a day that featured Garnett, Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo, and even James Posey in the house and in a drama-free environment because this was 100 percent Paul’s day -- would have been the perfect setting.

But Allen presumably declined.

He, again, found something better -- I guess? -- to do by golfing with George Lopez. Oh, in case you’re wondering (because I most definitely was), Lopez’s last movie role was the voice of Zook in 2017’s Gnome Alone... whatever the hell that means. That’s OK, though, you can understand why Allen had to hang out with Lopez after his appearance in Car Dogs. (Shockingly, the movie is not about dogs racing cars, which is what I originally thought it would be given the comedian’s resume.)

Ultimately, this completely is what it is, and who am I to tell a retired athlete who he can and can’t be friends with? I’d love to be friends with a comedian -- though I’d probably pick a, y’know, funny one. (Hi, Bill Burr. Wanna do a podcast and watch a B’s game?)

But Allen choosing to post a photo of it on the day of Pierce’s retirement comes across as Allen pissing on Pierce’s day and letting us all know how important it was to him. A mushy Tuesday post can settle us a bit, but the original optics and first impression that we take away from a congratulatory Lopez golf post on Sunday are and were not at all favorable.

And it’s not as if this day snuck up on Allen.

Forget about the impossible-to-avoid video tribute drama between Isaiah Thomas and Pierce, which only further highlighted this day on the calendar, the Celtics picked this as Pierce’s day late last summer. It would have been more than doable for Allen, who seems pretty damn bored these days if he’s getting successfully catfished on the internet, to designate Sunday as the day to finally join Pierce in burying the hatchet.

Obviously, that did not happen, and that’s embarrassing.

As when it comes to fixing this long-fractured relationship, and with the repair efforts cleary spearheaded by Pierce (likely against the wishes of a Garnett and Rondo), there’s no doubt Allen’s in-person presence on Sunday would have gone a long way.

Surely longer than any fairway drives with George Lopez, at least.

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