For something that took so long to accomplish, Ray Allen seemed to want to get it over with in a hurry last night.
After nearly 15 years in the NBA and 6,429 shots from beyond the arc, Allen lofted home one more 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:48 left in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers and it was done. Ray Allen stood alone.
As the ball curled through the net, a radiant smile pierced Allen’s face. But it was not as wide as the one his mother, Flo, was wearing — for she had seen more of those shots than anyone on Earth.
She had seen them when the world was watching and when no one was watching. And now she had seen No. 2,561, the one that allowed her son to pass Reggie Miller as the all-time 3-point leader in NBA history.
The sellout crowd of 18,624 was on its feet while the ball was still in the air, as it had been the three previous times Allen launched from the ozone. Once they cheered, twice they groaned, and with this one they exploded.
It was another 24 seconds before there was a pause in the action. When it came, Allen walked over to Miller, who was sitting courtside as part of TNT’s national broadcast team. They hugged in the way only two athletes who understood the struggle the other went through to get to this moment can.
And then Allen turned to Flo. It was difficult to be sure whose smile was wider, but both were the kind only a mother could share — because they, too, know how many shots it took to get to the one that put her son’s name above anyone else who ever launched a 3-pointer. Shots in the heat. Shots in the cold. Shots in empty gyms and jammed ones. Shots in the bedroom when the light was supposed to be out. Shots over the TV and from behind the sofa.
Shots launched only in the mind of a skinny kid who believed one day he would shoot shots the world would pay to see. And so it came to pass last night that one more went up and a record fell.
It came against the Celtics [team stats]’ most hated rival, and with the man who held the record (and had to take 57 more 3’s to set it) as witness. Most of all, it came after a sleepless night in which Allen had to admit he was unable to act like it would be just another night in 15 years of nights.
“I didn’t sleep extremely well (Wednesday) night, and I didn’t expect it,” Allen admitted before the game. “I got into trying to talk about shoes, just dealing with everything that was going on today and making sure that everything was together.
“The game itself is big enough. Being on the precipice of breaking this record takes you to another level. I saw Reggie earlier, and it’s like so surreal because I know Reggie and he’s been here many games. But now, being here, in this moment, and being able to say this moment is before us, it seems pretty overwhelming.”
It looked that way when he badly missed his first 3 attempt just 4:36 into the first quarter. It didn’t look that way when he tied the record on a pass from Kevin Garnett that found him wide open with 4:15 to play in the period. But with Kobe Bryant now on him, he missed again a few seconds later on a shot that not only he seemed to rush but the whole team seemed rush.
Then it came, the perfect pass from Rajon Rondo [stats] to Allen on the right wing. And then that classic frozen moment before he went straight up, as he always seems to, and flicked the ball as if it was light as a feather.
For Allen, that’s how a basketball has felt for years. But more than anyone else, Flo knows better, for she saw shots no one else saw. Shots that hit the rim. Shots that missed the rim. Shots that refused to do what they were told.
Last night, 3-point shot number 6,429 listened. It went where it was told, into the net for the 2,561st time as gently as a dream and maybe that’s what it was. The fulfillment of a dream that began when nobody was watching but his mom, and nobody knew how far this would go but him.
Continue reading here: Ray Allen’s long shot to top