Color Ray Allen confused.
In his first return to Boston to face the Celtics, no one was quite sure how the crowd would react. Though Allen took out a full-page ad to thank the Celtics and their fans upon his departure, his act was considered unforgivable by many. Not only did he leave Boston for less money, but he left for a division rival.
Despite his "betrayal," all was quiet just before tipoff.
Ray Allen on the floor for warmups and not a jeer in the house.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) January 27, 2013
Not all Boston fans are unhappy with Ray Allen twitter.com/WindhorstESPN/…— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 27, 2013
Then came the tribute video.
In the early going of the first quarter of the Celtics' bout against the Miami Heat, Boston paid homage to Allen's contributions over the past five years. Given the indifferent (bordering on friendly) welcome he received previously, the expectation was that the video would be met with plenty of support.
Somewhat surprisingly, a chorus of boos shook TD Garden throughout most of the video.
Downright confusing, though, was when the collective heckling turned into universal support.
In a split second, it went from overbearingly cold to overwhelmingly warm in Boston. By the end of the video, it was almost as if Allen had never left the Celtics; the cheers were that loud.
I'm sure Allen is too. He undoubtedly came back to Boston hoping for the best but expecting the worst. Somehow, he got both.
If only for a moment, the Celtics faithful remained just that to Allen: faithful. It wasn't about him leaving or him playing for the Heat; it was about all he had done, all that he had meant to this team and its fans.
Knowing Boston and the ruthless loyalty its fanbase embodies, Allen couldn't have asked for a better response.
The boos were discernible, yes, but the standing ovation, however brief, meant more.
Celtics showing a video montage of Ray Allen in the Garden, met with boos...and then... a standing ovation.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 27, 2013
So much more.