MIAMI – Heat coach Erik Spoelstra not only walks by the ceiling-to-floor photo outside the Heat’s locker room of Ray Allen’s shot in Game 6 of the 2013 Final every day, but …
“I touch that photo every day,” he said. “Grateful for Ray and his obsessive-compulsive work ethic to work on that shot thousands and thousands of times when everybody else would think that was too ridiculous a circumstance to actually try to practice something like that.”
The shot, a corner 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining, tied the game. The Heat won in overtime and then took Game 7 to capture their second consecutive title.
Allen was recognized for his 18-year career, which ended with two seasons in Miami, by being among the inductees for the Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday. Among those he joins in the 2018 class: Former NBA stars Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Grant Hill and Maurice Cheeks; Dino Radja, one of FIBA’s 50 greatest players and a two-time EuroLeague champion; longtime college basketball coach Lefty Driesell and women’s basketball standouts Katie Smith and Tina Thompson in the 2018 class.
Allen was in New York promoting his new book when he learned he would be inducted.
“I took a step back,” he told ESPN. “It was almost like one of those conversations or phone calls that it knocks the wind out of you a little bit, because you can’t believe what it being said. My phone came up and when I looked at it, underneath, it said, ‘Hall of Fame,’ and I was like, ‘The Hall of Fame is calling me.’
“You know, we’ve been humble to play this game and we’ve been certainly privileged. But to get a phone call from the Hall of Fame to say you’ve been inducted, it’s something that dreams are made of. We realized that if we didn’t play this game to make money, we’d play it because we loved it, we enjoyed the camaraderie.”
Allen is the fourth player to spend time with the Heat to make the Hall of Fame, joining Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O’Neal and Gary Payton. He is the first player that Spoelstra has had as a head coach to be inducted. Heat president Pat Riley also is in the Hall of Fame.
“He’s a first ballot hall of famer for his whole career, two-time champion,” Spoelstra said. “He could be Hall of Fame off the court as well for all the work he’s done for his foundations and all the cities he’s been in and those foundations are still up and running not only here and still in Boston he still has a presence in all the cities he’s played.”
Allen signed with the Heat as a free agent in 2012 and helped the team win the 2013 title thanks to the biggest shot of his career.
“That will go down as one of the most iconic shots in NBA history,” Spoelstra said. “And it was just an absolute blessing to be part of that moment. To be part of that team and I’m grateful I had an opportunity to coach a Hall of Fame player and person as Ray.”
Allen, who now makes his home in Miami, also won a title with the Celtics in 2008. He was a 10-time All-Star, remains the NBA career leader in 3-point field goals with 2,973 and is sixth on the all-time free throw percentage list at .894.
The fifth overall pick of the 1996 draft by Minnesota out of Connecticut, Allen was traded to the Bucks on draft night. He then spent 6.5 years with Milwaukee, 4.5 years in Seattle and five years in Boston.
Allen averaged 18.9 points in his career while shooting 45.2 percent, 40 percent on threes. In two years with the Heat he averaged 10.3 points.
At Connecticut, Allen was a unanimous first-team All-American in 1996. He was named the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year in 1995 and won an Olympic gold medal in 2000.
The enshrinement ceremony will be Sept. 7 in Springfield, Mass.