If Ray Allen is unable to successfully connect on two three-point field goals on Thursday night, the basketball gods will undoubtedly be upset. After all, what more could they have possibly done?
Destiny is staring Ray Allen in the face. Don't believe me?
Take a look.
Furthermore, the man Allen will be passing is, of course, Reggie Miller. Who will be calling the game, which will be televised on national television? None other than Reggie Miller. And if that isn't enough for you, alongside Miller will be the most accurate three-point shooter in NBA history, Steve Kerr (who connected on 45.4 percent of his three-point tries as a pro).
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This is a prime example of the basketball gods presenting an opportunity to an individual who truly deserves it.
Off the court, Ray is an outstanding person, giving back to his community through the Ray of Hope Foundation, and often participating in the Read to Achieve program.
And on the court, Ray is somewhat of an anomaly these days. In an era quietly plagued by underachieving players (Tim Thomas, Michael Olowokandi, Kwame Brown, etc.), Ray has done everything in his power to avoid such fate.
Everyone in the NBA is talented (with the exception of Brian Scalabrine), but a huge factor in determining success as a pro is work ethic. Ray's work ethic is legendary. He is consistently noted for arriving at every game up to four hours before tip-off, putting up upwards of 100 shots, in the presence of team dancers and halftime show performers, to get familiar with the baskets.
As if he doesn't know them already. Yet despite the amazing volume of shots that he has made in his career, he never lets his work ethic slip. Privileged (yes, privileged) with OCD, Ray actually sometimes has fears about never making a shot again. When this happens, he goes to the gym and shoots. Just in case you're curious, this fear has yet to come to fruition.
These statements that Ray recently said (thanks to a Jackie MacMullan article) demonstrate everything that Ray stands for, basketball-wise.
"I've argued this with a lot of people in my life. When people say God blessed me with a beautiful jump shot, it really pisses me off. I tell those people, 'Don't undermine the work I've put in every day.' Not some days. Every day. Ask anyone who has been on a team with me who shoots the most. Go back to Seattle and Milwaukee and ask them. The answer is me -- not because it's a competition, but because that's how I prepare."
"[My preparation] drives me insane. I'm wrought with anxiety about being ready, about getting my shots in with nobody on the floor but me. Sometimes I get this bad feeling, almost like an itch, and I've got to get rid of it. I've got to get out there and get my shots up so that feeling goes away. It is bothering me right now. Small things are getting to me. Some people could care less if they make a jump shot, a free throw."
"I have chosen to zone in and focus on this. I played baseball and football and some soccer, and I truly would have been the best at those sports at whatever position I chose because I would have set my mind to it."
He truly means all of that.
Reggie Miller has made clear that he is nothing but happy for Ray, and he genuinely means it. Reggie was also a hard worker, and appreciates what Ray has done throughout his career.
Ray made an interesting comment (also noted in the Jackie MacMullan piece), stating, "I'm of sound mind and body, two arms and two legs, like millions of other people, but the ones who want it badly enough set themselves apart.'' Boy, did he set himself apart.
Don't be fooled; while Ray is now being put in the public eye for a brief moment due to the record, Ray has been working this rigorously throughout his entire NBA career. As a matter of fact, he's been working this hard ever since he wasn't allowed to play with adults on Shaw Air Force Base (his father was a mechanic in the armed forces). He then vowed to become the best shooter on the base.
Little did he know that he would one day become the best shooter the world has ever seen.