Longtime NBA sharpshooter Ray Allen formally announced his retirement last Tuesday, writing a piece for The Players’ Tribune to make his decision official. The timing of the announcement seemed unusual to many observers, since Allen hadn’t played in an NBA game since 2014, but as the 41-year-old explains to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, he hadn’t fully given up on the idea of returning to the court until this year.
“After the 2014 Finals, I didn’t really think I was done and I thought there would be an opportunity,” Allen said. “Then, I was thinking I didn’t necessarily need or want to go to training camp. So I was going to wait and see if there was a team that made sense for me.”
While Allen wanted to continue his career at that point, he didn’t want to jump at the first offer, preferring to find a team that could meet several criteria — decent money, an opportunity for playing time, a chance to contend for a championship, and a coach who wouldn’t necessarily push his players through grueling practices, per Zillgitt.
Allen confirms that the Rockets made an enticing offer back in 2014, and Zillgitt hears from a source that Houston’s proposal was worth the full mid-level exception. However, that wasn’t enough to sway Allen, who never ended up finding a deal he liked for 2014/15.
“That first year went by, and it didn’t make sense. There was nowhere I thought I could fit in,” Allen said. “Coming into last year, I said, ‘Well, let’s see how it goes again.’ I started thinking, ‘Do I really want to do it? Do I want to be with my children? Or do I want to be away from my children?’ Then again, there wasn’t a situation that was worth it. Two years went by so quickly.
“One of the biggest factors was for me not to go back was the simple fact that I won twice already,” Allen added. “I believed going into the ’14/15 season, if I hadn’t won a championship, then I would’ve been on somebody’s roster. I would’ve moved. I would’ve tried to make it work anyway possible.”
Having finally decided to formally call it a career, Allen isn’t exactly sitting back and relaxing during his retirement. As Zillgitt details, the future Hall-of-Famer says he runs a minimum of two and a half miles per day, and he hopes to run a marathon “in the immediate future.”