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Ray Allen on D&C: Roller coaster of emotions over summer

10.01.10 at 10:03 am ET
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Celtics guard Ray Allen has been a critical part of the Boston roster for the last three years, helping lead the team to two NBA finals appearances, including one NBA championship. Allen appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show early Friday morning in an interview that was taped at Celtics media day, and he discussed varying topics, including the Game 7 loss to the Lakers and the upcoming season with some new faces but same leadership.

“I honestly believe that everything was imperfect [last season], throughout all last year going into the playoffs,” he said. “Nothing was lined up the way we wanted it to be. You know, we had to fight tooth and nail every possession, every game, to get it to where we wanted it to be. So, we imagine that it’ll be pretty much the same way. It was probably the most grueling, taxing season that I’ve had in the playoffs for sure. But when you get it, it makes it that much more special.”

Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

After 14 years in the NBA, does the gap between the end of the season and training camp seem shorter or longer, in your opinion?

It’s definitely gotten shorter. When I was young, it just seemed like it was a whole other year. The summertime you’d be home and I would catch everything. You know, you go home and you see people’s graduations, you know, you do some other things. But as I’ve gotten older, the summer’s already in full swing and we start in July. You’ve got July and August to try and get back into shape and stay in shape.

What’s the process like for you, getting over losing the NBA finals in a seventh game?

Well, I didn’t cut my hair for a long time. I didn’t want to really do anything; I didn’t really go out in public a whole lot. Just being around anybody was just too taxing. I’ve never had so many more people come up to me now, since we lost, come up to me and say congratulations, and they were so happy, and thank us for what we’ve done for them, and they watched and enjoyed what we did. When we won, it didn’t seem like anybody came up to me at all, but it just was everywhere I went, people said something. The most unassuming people you would ever expect watched the games, and, ‘€œYou guys were so awesome, so great.’€

I always told people, I said this was so overwhelming so many times because there would be a 75-year-old lady coming up to me and saying, “You guys were great. I watched you guys, I really enjoyed it. You guys kept my heart going.” But it was great, and you know, it was one of those things you’re glad that you could be a part of.

With all the trade talk and free agency, was there a point where you thought you would be playing elsewhere this season?

I thought it was possible. There were some days where I knew that I was somewhere else. Emotionally, it was somewhat of a roller coaster over the summertime, but obviously I still had a home here and had roots here in the Northeast, so I didn’t want to go anywhere, and finally when we were able to come to terms it was a great relief to know that I was going to be back here.

Are you going to finish here?

That’s my plan. You know, when I was traded here in ’07 that was my plan, to be here to finish my career here.

Do trade rumors wear even on an established veteran in the NBA?

I thought adamantly all year about trade rumors. People thought, does it bother you? I’m telling you, I do not care. I obviously wanted to be here. If the team felt that somebody was going to come in and better their team who was going to send me somewhere else, you know, I have a family I have to take care of, support. We just have to pick up and move. I’ve been traded twice, and every time, I’ve felt the same way. I never was insecure about my ability to do my job.

So, it doesn’t wear on you. I didn’t worry about it, because you know you still get paid and you still get to play in the NBA. That’s a wonderful thing. It’s just a matter of you just kind of clamp down on some things with your family. Like, “We can’t do this.” We didn’t sign our kids up for school this year. So, we had some issues getting my son into school. Because since we missed the deadline, some schools were kind of being sticklers.

But that’s life. That’s what we have to deal with. As far as the game, once I got on the floor, it was like, you plays basketball the same, it doesn’t doesn’t change.

Do you wonder if this team has enough left to compete for another title? This group is not young.

I think it’s a misconception as far as age is concerned. You know, you never win a championship with one guy. Many have tried, many have failed. But being a team is being together as one. And, you know, being pretty deep, having guys that you can rely on that can carry the team from one night to the next, that’s what is most important.

How do you look at last year, and take that and apply it to this year? How do you get back to that spot again?

I honestly believe that everything was imperfect, throughout all last year going into the playoffs. Nothing was lined up the way we wanted it to be. You know, we had to fight tooth and nail every possession, every game, to get it to where we wanted it to be. So, we imagine that it’ll be pretty much the same way. It was probably the most grueling, taxing season that I’ve had in the playoffs for sure. But when you get it, it makes it that much more special.

Most 2 guards are done by their mid-30s. What makes you different? What makes you a freak?

Because you might see me running through Wellesley, you know, on the street, or riding my bike on the street. You might not know who I am, but you might see me running. And, you know, I could ask anybody, whether it’s friends or family, anybody, to run with me, and they won’t want to run with me. Because I’ll run quick and I’ll run hard and I’ll get through it. I’ll get off my bike and hit the street running for the next hour and then when I come back to the house I’ll get on the treadmill and do sprints on the treadmill.

And most people may or may not want to do that, but most of the people I know don’t want to do it, and it’s just a constant thirst for me to get better and try and challenge myself every corner I turn.

When you look at your rookie season, whatever success you had in your rookie season, how much of that was the physical Ray Allen vs. the mental Ray Allen who knew the game? And now, in season 13 or 14, how much is physical and how much is mental for your success?

Well, definitely, you rely on athleticism when you first come in. I would say it’s 80 percent.

So, 80-20?

Yeah.

And now?

Now, you’re probably, maybe 75 percent mental. The other 25 percent you might have to make a great move, a great play at some point where it poses a situational problem to you. But one thing that I did learn over the course of my career ‘€” and every kid, everybody should know this, and even if you watch the game closely ‘€” what makes the great players in this league great is the ones that do the simple things consistently over and over again.

John Stockton is one of the best point guards of all time, a Hall of Famer. What did he do that was flashy? He came off the pick and roll and he had Karl Malone there every time, which was a blessing to have. He threw it back to him, scored, he’d shoot a 3 every now and then, he’d get to the hoop, whatever it was. But it was so simple, and he hung his hat on that every day, and people say he’s one of the best, and it was so simple. Every now and then you might see him cross his legs twice, twice, throw it with the left hand or a no-look. Every now and then.

When you run through the streets, do you go with your mother? Does she run with you?

No, she doesn’t.

Are you going to run with her some day, like the whole 26 miles?

Yup. She’s got one up on me. That’s the one thing that I think of. There’s so many different types of athletes. Some were built for endurance, some were built for speed. The same boat: Can he run a marathon? Can he run a 400? We don’t know that. Because you’ve got to train for it. Every time I run, if I run 3-5 miles, when I go on the streets, I’m always sitting there thinking, you know, you play those mental games with yourself. I’m on the streets thinking, “Could I really run a marathon. Do I have the mental fortitude,” which I do believe I can. Once you put yourself in that situation, you’re in your head. And you can’t get out of it. It’s like, the only thing you can do is, if you want to do this, you’ve got to keep doing it. Until you get to do it …

Don’t you do that every night? Anyone ever guess how many miles you run in a game?

Yeah, I think in the playoffs, they calculated maybe one game, but I don’t remember. I think Danny Ainge has the statistics. But it’s still different. Because you get rest, you get breaks. You know when something’s coming. Or, I’m not in every play, so I’m over there rested up. But once I’m in a play, it’s going to be holy hell for the guy who’s trying to guard me, because I’m going to be running a lot, very often.

You know, if it’s up to your mother, she’s not going to let you win in the marathon.

It is going to be a challenge once I do it, for me, myself, personally. But I know what her time is, and I’m definitely going to be trying to beat that time.

I always thought she was the one who talked you into staying here. She looks like she’s having a good time in Boston.

Well, nobody had to talk me into it.

Somebody did.

No, no. At the end of the day, I tell anybody who’s in my corner, I say, “You can give me all the input you want, all the suggestions, but at the end of the day, finally, it’s going to be the decision that I think is best for everybody.” That’s what it ultimately ended up being.

Read More: Danny Ainge, John Stockton, Ray Allen,
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