Wednesday night is more than just another game for Ray Allen . Veterans Day has a special meaning for the guard who grew up in a military home.
Allen’s father, Master Sergeant Walt Allen, spent 26 years in the Air Force. The senior Allen, who battled cancer this summer, made the trip from South Carolina to attend his first game since the 2008 season.
“When you say today is Veteran’s Day, that’s why I think about where I’ve come from,” Allen said prior to game against the Jazz . “I come from a background of a lot of great military presence. So any time I see any soldier, I love seeing soldiers. I run into Marines all the time and it’s always great to sit down and talk to them. You just always say thank you, thank you for your services, thank you for being selfless because to put your life in harm’s way is something that a lot of people would not do.”
Allen depicted his military upbringing in T-Shirt designed to benefit World Diabetes Day . (His son Walker was diagnosed with the disease during the 2008 playoffs.) The graphic follows a paper plane, representing the armed services, and traces through several basketballs that eventually end at his uniform number, 20.
On the front of the shirt it reads, “W.W.J.S.D.” (What Would Jesus Shuttlesworth Do?) The back of the shirt displays the quote, “No Journey is Too Great When One Finds What He Seeks,” one of Allen’s favorite lines from the movie “Coming to America.”
He uses the quote as motivation to fight against diabetes. It can also pertain to the military’s journey to protect the country.
“I’m just grateful for them because they protect our freedoms here,” said Allen. “We get to play basketball but we’re playing here so we can do this what we’re doing and we can encourage and motivate them while they’re watching us play. So they’re protecting us and I appreciate it.”
(For more information on Allen’s t-shirt to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, visit www.muzeclothing.com )