Former Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen said Tuesday he "will always be a Celtic" and downplayed speculation about a potential rift in his relationship with team legend Paul Pierce after missing his jersey retirement ceremony over the weekend.
Allen posted a long message on Instagram congratulating Pierce on the achievement, which read in part:
"Paul and I have spoken about our time together as teammates—going to battle night after night knowing we could count on one another and we have also talked about my decision to leave during free agency—a choice I made for my family. Despite what you may have heard or read or what is rumored—there is nothing but love. Paul and I are more interested in building bridges than putting up walls."
Allen missed the celebration of Pierce's career, instead opting for a round of golf with friends, including George Lopez. He congratulated Lopez in a separate Instagram post for a hole-in-one and added the hashtag "happy Sunday."
It renewed questions about potential lingering tensions between the former teammates after Allen decided to leave Boston to join the Miami Heat in 2012.
Pierce said Monday during an appearance on ESPN's The Jump he wasn't concerned about the sharpshooter's absence, though.
"A lot of guys weren't there, and he lives—what?—in Miami. To each his own, but I have no problem with that," he said.
Allen noted in his post Tuesday that "over the last few years I have been berated, lambasted and had my name smeared" due to the situation. But the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer added he will "always cherish the bonds that I shared with all of my teammates and the people in the city of Boston."
Pierce, Allen and Kevin Garnett enjoyed a lot of success across five seasons together before the much-discussed break up, highlighted by breaking the franchise's 22-year championship drought in 2008.