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Ray Allen on his future and Big Baby on D&H

Celtics guard Ray Allen [1] check in with the Dale & Holley Show on Thursday afternoon. The Celtics star analyzed his team’s struggles in the third quarter during its recent slump, his thoughts on the exchange between Glen Davis [2] and a fan in Detroit on Thursday, and how Allen is viewing his future given that he is currently in the fifth and final year of his current deal.

A complete transcript is below. To listen to the interview, click here [3].

What happened in the second half against the Pistons?

We’€™ve been having problems in the third quarter. As a team we talked about it last night, we talked about it previous games ‘€“ third quarter, our energy has to be better than it is. It’€™s something that’€™s been plaguing us as a team, again, we’€™ve talked about it, and everybody’€™s ready to do better.

We talked with Kevin Garnett [4] earlier in the season, and he said team effort was great. Do you feel the same, or is that part of the issue?

I’€™ve never questioned any one of my teammates and where their effort lies, where their heart is. When you have so many players that can contribute and potentially be an All Star in the league, sometimes for most of us, doing less is more. You get in that situation sometimes, that you have to be able to know that taking a back seat to somebody and making sure that I make Glen Davis better and allow him to be successful, and allow Perk to be successful and visa-versa. Learning how to play as a team, regardless of what happens, everybody is concerned with the bottom line of winning. Everybody’€™s concerned with winning, everybody wants to win, but at the same time, you have to know how to go about doing that every night. Whoever gets the glory is going to get the glory, but winning is the ultimate objective.

Doc said after the game last night that this team may not be as good as some of the players think it is. Has that shown itself to you?

That may be true, but then I just believe that if you ever say that you’€™re good ‘€“ yeah, we’€™re great, we’€™re a good team ‘€“ that to me is a little disconcerting, because you can’€™t talk about being great. You can’€™t talk about who you are and what you’€™re capable of. It’€™s like, any player in any sport, you never worry about being one of the best players in the league, you never talk about being one of the best players in the league ‘€“ that’€™s for other people to decide for themselves. As a team, for us to say that we’€™re great or that we’€™re one of the best teams in the league, that may be the case, but for us to talk about it, it knocks us down a peg or two. We have to go out every day and worry about getting better and thinking that we aren’€™t one of the best and that’€™s what we’€™re striving to become one of the best by where we end up at the end of the year, and that’€™s hoisting the trophy up. That’€™s what determines the best team, and we can’€™t worry about talking about it, thinking’€¦we just have to have those same habits every single day that are going to allow us to prove that we’€™re one of the best teams if not the best team in the NBA.

Donny Marshall has talked about how you take a great deal of pride in being in great shape ‘€“ it looks like you’€™re in the best shape of your career. What do you do in your off-season?

It’€™s interesting that Donny said that, because Donny is a guy that in college, between him and Kevin, when we ran the mile times, we were doing tests on the floor, so many different regiments that we had to compete in to get in shape. Donny was always one of the guys that was the first. Kevin was one of the first, and I was always struggling to keep up with those guys. But it was always the three of us at the front, so that mentality has always stuck with me, always to figure out a way to be in better shape. I knew as hard as Donny and Kevin worked ‘€“ whatever talent that I had, I had to work harder or as hard as them to stay on top and I wasn’€™t going to rely on what people said about me. So, that mentality stays with me today, even when I spend time with Donny or Kevin in the summertime in Connecticut, we always center what we’€™re doing in the summertime around working out and taking care of our bodies. So, it’€™d be nothing for us to have a day of golf but then go for 25 mile bike rides. When you’€™re around people like that, that have the ability to get better and want to improve their bodies, the things you talk about, the things you do, how you live ‘€“ you pass on secrets on eating, nutritional supplements that are healthy. For me, I got to the summer, and spending time in the gym, I ran religiously, burning calories and burning fat early. In the summertime, you figure there is a bar of conditioning, you go below that bar a little bit when you’€™re not playing, but for me, I think I stayed right at that bar, so when the season started, I pushed it up a little bit where I was in such great shape. I think I got slimmer than I’€™ve been in years, but I feel like I’€™ve gotten stronger. The progression of guys careers, as you get older, you learn to work out a little better. So that’€™s probably just me learning, being around strength coaches and trainers a lot more in my career.

Staying with the college theme, we’€™re all concerned about your college coach Jim Calhoun [5] ‘€“ how’€™s he doing?

Yeah, I had a conversation with Coach Blaney yesterday morning, and he was very optimistic. He stated that coach was probably stressed out, everybody knows that he’€™s a guy that is very fiery on the sidelines, to say the least, that might be an understatement. They’€™ve lost a couple games in a row, the predicament that he was in; he’€™s dealt with a lot the two years, and his physician basically told him he needs to keep the stress levels down because they didn’€™t want to have to admit him into the hospital, or his body have a reaction to what he was dealing with in basketball. So, he’€™ll probably be out 5-10 days, but the most important thing right now is the coaches around him to take care of him, make sure he has the confidence to know that he can take care of what’€™s going on in his life. I haven’€™t spoken to him personally, but it seems that he’€™s going to be all right, and everything going on is just precautionary.

As we all know Ray, the All Star game is coming upon us ‘€“ give us your thoughts on guys like Tracy McGrady [6] and Allen Iverson [7] racking up so many votes.

Well, every year we talk about the All Star voting and who should and who shouldn’€™t be ‘€“ I would never talk about who shouldn’€™t be, because everybody who goes deserves it. But the issues a lot of times are dealing with the voting ‘€“ I always believe that regardless of who you are, what your name of, how long you’€™ve been playing in the league, the best 10 players that year in the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference should have the opportunities to start. It’€™s become a popularity contest where from the fan voting, you figure you’€™re putting who you want to see in the All Star game. You say that’€™s what it’€™s all about, the All Star game is about the fan votes, but I would like to see the true valued player in the first half of the season get the chance to start in the All Star game, based on ‘€“ okay if the fans vote, if they take 50 percent of the vote, and then you give another 25 percent to the players that are in the league and then the media 25 percent. Because you know, media watches just as much games, knows just as much about the players as the players and coaches in the league itself ‘€“ I think that would give a great representation of who the best players are that first half of the season and reward them for what they’€™ve done ‘€“ and then the coaches vote for the reserves. To me, you see baseball, baseball every year seems like they have it right because baseballs such a statistics game, the best statistics are going to win out every time regardless of who you are and what your name is’€¦and that’€™s the question to see, and I’€™d like to see that in our game as well.

Back to the Celtics, the home record has surprised a lot of people, me included ‘€“ is chemistry an issue on your team?

I don’€™t think chemistry is an issue ‘€“ I don’€™t like to make excuses, but we started out the season on fire and the one issue we’€™ve had is offensive rebounding against us. And the first our or five games we lost, that’€™s why we lost. You figure, we start off the season and we didn’€™t have Glen Davis with us, and we we’€™re always a team that thought okay when we get Glen back, we’€™ll be better. But we still hit the ground running, doing what we have to do to get better. Along the way, we’€™ve had injuries, and we’€™ve been dealing with that the last few months, so, we’€™re just a team that is just trying to make sure we get better, everyone stays healthy, and trying to figure out the best way to play, how we need to play, and then when we get a full assembly of guys on the floor, we look forward to doing that, getting better, moving forward, and sure up some of the small, little mistakes or wrong doings we have out there on the floor.

Last night, Big Baby was getting heckled ‘€“ how do you deal with hecklers? Have you ever had an incident?

That’€™s probably one of the best questions I’€™ve heard in a long time, because I think people have such great access to our games, and there’€™s so much yelling going on and there’€™s so much heckling going on, and people want to go to the games ‘€“ and that’€™s what’€™s great about the NBA. I’€™ve been around some very volatile teammates in my career, and I’€™ve seen guys jump on other people, I’€™ve seen it for other players on other teams around the league, and it always seems like the wrong way to handle it is to lash back at somebody else in the crowd. Because the crowd, they’€™re heckling, they’€™re doing what they’€™re supposed to be, you’€™re on the road ‘€“ even if you’€™re at home, our job is to stay out and stay focused on the floor and make your teammates better and improve what you’€™re doing on the floor, listen to what the coach is doing. For me, personally, nobody has ever said anything to me that has gotten under my skin. People have said things that I’€™ve heard, that I’€™ve said, wow, that was pretty cold. But they would never know that it bothered me because the people that watch me play most of the time on the road don’€™t know who I am. They might have an idea of who they think I am, and who may be in my family life, and what kind of guy they think I am, but when they start yelling insults, it’s typically just to break me. I’€™m out on the floor, and any guy I think yells back at the fans I think is uncalled for. I say, personally, if you ignore him, the guy keeps yelling it out, you keep ignoring him, and then eventually everybody around him in the crowd is going to say shut up dummy, he’€™s not listening to you or he doesn’€™t hear you and it makes him look bad. But when we as players yell back at the crowd, I think it makes us look bad, look unfocused.

Have you have a chance to share that message with Glen Davis?

I didn’€™t know that anything happened. I didn’€™t hear about him and any crowd or anything he did ‘€“ it’€™s just one of those things for younger players in the league that, as you get older, you learn certain things ‘€“ you stay away from certain people in the crowd, you stay away from certain pitfalls of the game because at the end of the day, it makes us as players look bad if you’€™re not paying attention to the game and worrying about what somebody in the crowd is saying. Because that’€™s what being on the road is all about sometimes, having to deal with people who don’€™t particularly like you. We run out on the floor, when they say welcome to the building of the Boston Celtics [8] ‘€“ the whole building moves. That’€™s part of it. It’€™s like the Empire Strikes Back. You come in there, people are really going in on you, you have to say hey we’€™re on the road, it’€™s going to be tough, they don’€™t like us here, they may be a rival team ‘€“ whatever it is, we have to come together, make sure everybody does their job, and focus a little bit more.

Ray, you’€™re in the last year of your contract, and you pay people to worry about this stuff ‘€“ but you are a human being. How much time do you spend thinking about your future?

Everything I do is preparing for my future. Eating right, trying to stay healthy longer, getting rest for the next day or whatever it is. Contractually, that’€™s the one thing I’€™ve done a great job not worrying about. When I signed this contract in Seattle five years ago, I signed it to play five years of basketball under this contract. This is my fifth year, and I’€™m not by any means worried about what happens after this year because I have an obligation to this team for this year, I’€™m not distracted, I’€™d never get distracted, because I know who I am and what my job is every single day, and every moment is an opportunity to get better, every moment is an opportunity to work harder so, going out here every day, it’€™s a joy. Because I figure, if I’€™m not in Boston, then every day I’€™m auditioning or interviewing for a new job. Obviously, I’€™d like to be here, but, it’€™s one of those things that mentally, you have to stay in the moment. In the moment for us is right now, right here, trying to win a Championship, and I need each one of my guys to help me get better, help me help them win a Championship, and you know I have a great staff of coaches that work with me every day to find the best way for us to go out there and win games. That’€™s my moment. The future, we gotta plan for it, but right now, it’€™s the present moment, and for us, if we get too far ahead in the future, then we do lose ballgames. We end up not being as good as we think or hope we can be, so we’€™re all here in this moment and we can’€™t worry about anything past this moment.

Would you like to stay here?

This is my favorite part of the country ‘€“ I lived in Connecticut as well, so I am home. I love the people here. The fans here are the best fans that I’€™ve seen anywhere. I’€™ve seen some traditionally great franchises in sports in America, but there are no fans like Boston fans. I mean that. The people here have been so great and so supportive and it’€™s a different feeling here in this city when it comes to sports teams. There’€™s no other place I’€™d rather be. It’€™s hard to play here, and I guarantee you that most players that have played here, whether you play for the Sox, you played for the Patriots, the Bruins, the Celtics ‘€“ when you leave here, the feeling is just not the same. Being part of a tradition, a city of fans that follow their team the way they do ‘€“ you can wear a Sox jersey to a Celtics game and hey, he’€™s cheering, he’€™s with us. We’€™re all the same. Players in the city, support each other, there’€™s no rivalries, there’€™s no hatred. It’€™s like hey man, you come to our games, we’€™ll put you on the 50-yard line, we’€™ll put you anywhere you need to sit because we need your support. And, I’€™ve played in other cities and it’€™s not necessarily the exact same.

Says a lot about you that we can’t end a Ray Allen interview without asking you what book you’€™re reading. What are you into right now?

Right now, I’€™m reading What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. I’€™m trying to get into it right now, I’€™m on the third chapter, I’€™m trying to follow through. It’€™s not keeping my attention right now, I need something that’€™s going to really keep my mind going. I have to tell you, the best book I’€™ve read in the last year or so was the book the Lone Survivor. Marcus Luttrell I think was his name, he was a Navy Seal, he went down to Afghanistan, and it talks all about his whole journey to make it back to safety and how many people in Afghanistan helped him, and they were part of the Taliban, but they helped him get out of their country. A book like that, you figure you’€™re going through so much in your own life, I’€™m dealing with the adversity that I’€™m dealing with personally or as a team ‘€“ I see a story or read a story like this, and it just gives you so much more courage.