Ray Allen on NBA Career: 'I Always Felt Like I Was Barely Treading Water'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2019

Seattle SuperSonics' Ray Allen passes against the New Orleans Hornets in the second half, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2005, in Seattle. Playing in his second game since missing two contests with a bad case of the flu, Allen played 36 minutes and shot 11-for-17, including a 3-pointer, in leading the Sonics with 26 points in their 108-91 victory. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
ELAINE THOMPSON/Associated Press

Hall of Fame guard Ray Allen said he never felt completely safe on NBA rosters despite emerging as one of the greatest shooters in basketball history.

Allen recently told Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports he didn't experience an "I'm here to stay" feeling during his 18-year career with the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.

"I never had that moment because I always felt like I was barely treading water," he said. "That's what made me keep working how I needed to work."

Allen, the fifth overall pick out of UConn in the 1996 NBA draft, said he tried to relay some of the lessons he learned to the 2019 arrivals at the NBA Rookie Transition Program:

"I'm just trying to reframe the narrative from just saying 'hard work' to giving the kids examples, because when you say hard work to some kids, it's a turnoff. So, I'm trying to get them to see and understand preparation and breaking it down into different segments — being on time, putting the shots up that you would be putting up in a game situation. That's hard work, but if you can break it down and let them understand it piece by piece, then they say, 'OK, I can do that.'"

The 44-year-old California native made an instant impact in the NBA. He played all 82 games for the Bucks as a rookie and averaged 30.9 minutes per contest. So the fact that he felt like he was "treading water" was more about his mindset than the reality of his situation.

Allen ended up becoming one of the most decorated players of his era.

He averaged 18.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists across 1,300 career regular-season games. He earned 10 All-Star Game selections, won two NBA championships and was named to an All-NBA Team twice. His 2,973 made three-pointers are the most in league history.

Allen last played during the 2013-14 season with the Heat, but he didn't officially retire until November 2016. Now he's trying to pass on his nearly two decades of NBA wisdom to the next generation.