MIAMI — Ray Allen’s final NBA game was with the Miami Heat.
The 10-time All-Star formally announced his retirement Tuesday morning through a “letter to my younger self” published on The Players’ Tribune.
Allen hasn’t played since the 2013-14 season, but there were always rumors that he could make a comeback on a team in need of three-point shooting. The 41-year-old’s final NBA game ended up being the Heat’s 104-87 loss to the Spurs in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on June 15, 2014.
“I was holding out hope he was going to come back for a playoff run,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Tuesday morning with a laugh. “I think he’s probably moving on to his next career, No. 1 would be his family and No. 2 is probably Ironmans or marathons. I see him every once in a while running down the street.
“That’s HOF (Hall of Fame) as soon as that can happen.”
Over Allen’s 18-year NBA career, he won two NBA titles — one with the Celtics in 2008 and another with the Heat in 2013.
Allen is responsible for one of the most memorable shots in Heat history and NBA history.
With Miami trailing the Spurs 3-2 in the 2013 NBA Finals, San Antonio was just seconds away from winning the title with a 95-92 lead in Game 6. But Allen came through in the clutch, making a huge 3-pointer from the corner with 5.2 seconds remaining to tie the score at 95.
The rest is history, as the Heat went on to win Game 6 in overtime 103-100 to force a Game 7. With all of the momentum, Miami went on to win Game 7 95-88 to win the championship and make sure Allen’s shot wouldn’t be forgotten.
Allen spent two seasons with the Heat from 2012-14. He averaged 10.3 points and shot 39.8 percent from three-point range in 152 regular-season games with Miami.
Spoelstra recalls the first time he witnessed one of Allen’s shooting drills in Miami. Spoelstra called it an “extreme” drill that Allen practiced to prepare for the rare situation of shooting a three after going to the floor to grab an offensive rebound.
“He would lay on the floor, pop up, backpedal, have the presence of mind to have his feet set and not out of bounds and have a coach throw him the ball,” Spoelstra said. “It was the first time I had ever seen that drill. I asked him afterwards, ‘That seemed like a crazy drill, why would you do something like that and lay down in the middle of the floor?’ He said, ‘It’s extreme but I want to prepare myself for when I’m in the lane and I hit the floor or I’m on the ground for an offensive rebound that I have the fundamentals to be able to back pedal, stay in bounds and be able to knock down shots.”
Allen holds the NBA record with 2,973 threes made over his career. He averaged 18.9 points and shot 40 percent from three-point range over his 18 NBA seasons.
“I told that story before and I always mention it to young players coming in to develop an approach and a consistent work ethic every single day,” Spoelstra said of Allen. “Things don’t happen by accident the majority of the time in this league. The way he was able to shoot the ball and be one of the premier catch-and-shoot clutch players that you had to absolutely game plan for meant that he had to put in a crazy amount of time behind the scenes.”
Haslem, who was one of Allen’s teammates on the Heat, called him a “mentor.”
“You think about guys like myself who are getting up a little bit in age. Then you see Ray, being the first in the gym and the last to leave,” Haslem said Tuesday. “Riding his bike, jogging and doing the things that’s he’s done. So I’ve taken a couple of pages out of his book just to continue my career moving forward and keep myself in great shape with eating right and certain things I’ve taken away from him.”