This is a guest post by Aaron Dougherty. Aaron is avid sports fan that resides in the Raleigh, NC area. He has a degree in Sport Management from North Greenville University and enjoys writing about, reading, and watching sports in his spare time.
Miami Heat shooting guard Ray Allen has hit clutch shot after clutch shot in his illustrious 17 seasons in the NBA. He has been characterized by his steady hand in the heat of battle, his nerves of steel, and his ice-watery veins. He is a 10 time NBA All Star, the NBA leader in all time 3 points field goals made, and now a 2 time NBA Champion.
Thus it was no surprise when Ray hit one of the most clutch shots in NBA Finals history with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals played between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. Perhaps Michael Jordan’s clutch shot over Utah Jazz guard Bryon Russell in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals is of some rival to Ray’s shot. However if Ray misses, the Heat’s season is over whereas if MJ missed, the Bulls would have received one more chance for redemption.
Allen, known for his work ethic and preparation before games, opted not to make a final pass to a calling teammate Lebron James for an attempted game winning shot. Instead, Allen calmly stepped back and in routine fashion knocked down a three in one of the most pressure filled moments in Finals history.
Rhythm, release, readiness, ritual, and role are all words that describe Ray. These descriptions are customary for a man who is in the gym practicing his shot for three and half hours before every NBA regular season game. If anything, this is called old school. Ray is a career 40% 3 point shooter and 90% free throw shooter. This kind of marked determination is a rare trait found in most of the NBA stars today.
In this way, Allen shares company with Jordan in yet another category. If anyone was old school, it was Jordan. Jordan did not just want to beat individual players, he wanted to humiliate them. He was cold-blooded and so was Allen in a pressure packed Finals moment. Few players today want to rip their opponent’s heart out and leave it on the sidewalk for all passers-by to see. The contrast seen between the different generations could never have been clearer than by watching Lebron James embrace Kevin Durant after the Oklahoma City Thunder lost last year’s Finals to the Heat. Not only did the two embrace, they have been noted for being offseason workout partners.
MJ would not be caught dead working out with his greatest rival in the offseason. And Allen had no problem burying the Spurs with a three point dagger from the corner. In fact, that three turned out to be the nail in the coffin. Let’s just face the facts. The old school will be never be the new school and the new school will never be the old school. But that is what makes basketball great. As Jordan passed on his old school mentality to an up and coming player Ray Allen in the mid 90’s, so Ray will pass on some of his old school habits to a new budding star. That is what happens when great players rub shoulders on a nightly basis by playing each other during the regular season. Player’s admire certain aspects in another player’s game and then try to emulate and implement that style into their own game.
The future of the NBA looks bright. With rising stars such as Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, Warriors shooting guard Stephen Curry, and Clippers power forward Blake Griffin, the entertainment value of NBA games will only rise. In fact, Stephen Curry may be the one player who gives Ray Allen a run for his money in the all time three point field goals made category. But one thing is certain for now. Ray Allen remains old school and can add one more “r” word descriptor to his lengthy resume after his latest clutch shot in the Finals: ruthless.
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