No breakup is clean. If he or she leaves you, it never feels quite right, and the reasons never seem to add up. Feelings are going to be hurt, hearts are going to be crushed, friendship will seem like a distant and unrealistic possibility.
Ray Allen did what a lot of Boston Celtics fans would consider the unthinkable: He joined the dark side. You can feel it pouring out of Boston. Thousands of fans screaming collectively, "YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE! IT WAS SAID YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO DESTROY THE HEAT, NOT JOIN THEM!"
There's going to be a lot of backlash. One of the NBA's all-time greatest shooters, who helped bring Kevin Garnett to Boston, who broke the three-point record in Celtic Green and created the Boston Three-Party, will soon wear black and red.
Is the backlash justified? It really depends on your perspective. Objectively, Ray Allen did what a lot of people would do. He went to play with the greatest player in the world, brought his family to the lush Miami area and got revenge for all those trade rumors and talk of coming off the bench leaking out of Boston.
Why would he stay some place where he was not totally desired?
A lot of media members are defending Allen's position. They look at the backlash of fans as a lack of appreciation, a lack of respect that he's entitled to. After all, he did not choose to come to Boston. He was traded there from Seattle. He only spent five years there. He brought Boston his beautiful jumper and God-given three-point shooting ability. He's one of the reasons Boston has a championship banner hanging in the rafters from 2008, he brought them six minutes within another and he helped bring them to the conference finals last year.
I get that perspective. It's the objective perspective, but it's not the only one, and it's not necessarily the right one. It's the one outsiders should have. It's the kind of respect that KG, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers should show him after every meeting next year. But it's not the one the fans should necessarily have. Their friends are telling them to think of all the happy times.
The Miami Heat are the Celtics' enemy more than the Heat are for anyone else. America despises the Heat. Cleveland loathes the Heat. Other teams dislike the Heat. But none of those places suffered the loss of two straight conference finals.
For the fans, Ray Allen took that and shoved it in their faces. He broke up with them and started dating their mortal enemy. He looked Boston right in the eyes and told them they weren't good enough. I'd rather chase a ring and take less money than chase a ring with you for more.
Heck, even Doc Rivers feels the same way (per ESPNBoston.com):
“No, I didn’t agree, but that doesn’t matter,” Rivers said. “It doesn’t matter what I think. I just wish we could have found a way [to sign Allen], and we didn’t. Always put it on us—it’s easier. Kevin Garnett was our focal point, and he should have been. If that got anyone ruffled, then that’s probably too bad...He probably got bent sideways a bit by us courting Kevin. I really don’t know, honestly. He talked to me. It was a good talk. You know how I am. A guy makes his mind up, I’m not going to try and change it. I respect him for all he did for us, and I thought he should have stayed with us. Actually, you just have to let it go.”
The cut wouldn't be so deep if it had been anyone else. Even the Lakers or the Knicks, two of Boston's longtime rivals. Fans could justify it, then. They could feel OK and move on with their lives. Those teams won't threaten Boston next year.
It will never be that way, however. Some fans may have an eternal respect for Ray Allen. The next time he comes to TD Garden, a lot of fans will stand in ovation to him. A lot of fans will also try to boo him right out of the building. That's their right as fans.
So it ends the reign of the Boston Three-Party. Boston has a new Three-Party now, where Rajon Rondo has established himself as a star. History does not favor the losers, and in this case, Boston's Benedict Arnold may have aligned himself with the winning side, and the front of newspapers will talk about how Allen chose the right side in this particular war.
And so it begins. In the eyes of fans, Ray Allen is now the apprentice. He is Darth Maul, and LeBron James is Darth Sidious. Speaking of which, has anyone noticed how closely Allen resembles Darth Maul?