Assessing Ray Allen's Legacy as a Member of the Boston Celtics

Sam QuinnContributor IIIJuly 29, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JULY 11:  (L to R)  Miami Heat President Pat Riley, Ray Allen  and head coach Erik Spoelstra announce the signing of Allen at AmericanAirlines Arena on July 11, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Boston Celtics fans naturally have mixed feelings about their now-departed shooting guard Ray Allen

Allen was a member of Boston's new Big Three and was a part of their only championship team in more than 20 years, but he also ditched them for their hated rivals in Miami. Therefore we must ask: Should Boston fans remember the good times with Ray? Or will he forever be known as a traitor?

Before we make a decision, we must lay out the facts. 

Ray Allen's biggest contribution to the Celtics came off of the court. His presence allowed the Celtics to trade for Kevin Garnett, who needed another star on the team before he'd re-sign. 

With Allen, Garnett and Paul Pierce, the Celtics tore through the league for a championship in 2007-2008 and started the next season a staggering 27-2. Had Kevin Garnett not gotten injured late in the 2009 season, they probably would have won it all again.

The Celtics made it back to the finals in 2010 and had two more deep playoff runs in the following seasons.

But Allen's contributions to those teams have been a bit overstated. He didn't change the culture of the team like Garnett did, he never gave them the all-around brilliance Rajon Rondo did and he never led them through the playoffs like Paul Pierce did.

By the end of his run in Boston, Allen was nothing more than a glorified role player. His move to the bench was highly covered by the media, but really Doc Rivers had no choice—Allen simply can't play 35 minutes per game anymore.

That's what makes it so easy to hate Allen for his betrayal in ditching the Celtics for the Heat.

This particular group of Celtics have always taken pride in the fact they weren't like the Heat. They were a team in every sense of the word, not a collection of talent.

They took pleasure in beating the Heat and agonized over their playoff losses to the 2012 champs. 

Allen was supposed to be a part of their team dynamic. Instead, he ditched the guys who won with him for the guys they hated the most.

What's worse is that he took less money to do it. While Miami offers a better chance at a championship, Boston should be in the hunt all year. If Allen really valued his legacy as a Celtic, he'd go down with the ship rather than win a hollow title in Miami.

And that's what we'll always remember about Ray Allen. Not that he was a part of Boston's first championship in 21 years, but that he left them for the team they hated most.

If Allen doesn't value his legacy as a Celtic then why should fans value it? In 50 years, when we look back on Ray Allen's time with the Celtics, we'll remember how he left more than we'll remember what he did when he was here. 

Is it entirely fair? No, but it's how legacies work. The bad usually outweighs the good. In Allen's case, he made that call the moment he took his talents to South Beach.