Disclaimer: I’m just kidding in this post… I think; contrary to what I will write, I actually trust Ray Allen. But his story on WEEI, as told by Jessica Camerato, DID seem a little far-fetched. Jessica, if — by any chance — you read this, I believe you do a great job covering the Celtics. I am not disparaging your work. Ray told it to you, and thus it’s on him.
I’m calling B.S. on Ray Allen. The story he told to WEEI’s Jessica Camerato, the one about his childhood inspiration that helped him along his way to being an NBA All-Star? It’s a bunch of rubbish.
Here’s the excerpt from the story:
At 6-foot-1, the youngster looked physically ready to compete. But at only 12 years old, he was a year shy of the age limit. The staff had previously let him in under his father’s guidance. But on this particular day, there was a new person on the duty who wasn’t budging. In spite of the fact that his father and several other men in the gym argued for his admittance, he was denied access.
It was the first time Ray Allen was told he couldn’t play basketball — and, as he sat outside on the curb waiting in frustration for the games to end, he promised himself it would be the last.
“I always remember that, people trying to keep me out of the gym,” Allen said. “That made me want to fight to be in the gym because I knew, even at that age, people believed in me. They wanted me to play and wanted me to be good.”
So, we’re supposed to believe that a security guard saw a 6’1″ person and didn’t think he was even 13 years old? At 13 years old, 6’1″ is a certified beast. 6’1″ is monster status at that age. You’re trying to tell me a 6’1″ person accompanied by adults didn’t pass for 13 years old? Really? What, do they check birth certificates to see who gets into open gym? Are they scanning library cards at the gymnasium door?
In Camerato’s piece, Paul Pierce later said that there was probably one thing in every NBA player’s life that spurred him to accomplish goals and push himself to the highest level. I can dig that — professional basketball players are, for the most part, set apart from the next-best players by desire. It only makes sense that something happened to give them an extra gear of devotion to the game of basketball. That makes perfect sense.
But am I supposed to believe Ray Allen’s inspiration was not getting let into an open gym? That, of all the trials and tribulations that undoubtedly occurred during his basketball life, sitting on a curb while his father played with his friends was the one that stood out the most? C’mon, son. There wasn’t someone who doubted him and made him want to push himself? There wasn’t someone who believed in him and made him want to succeed? There was only the grumpy guy on duty at the gym? He’s the one who Ray draws inspiration from?
Hey, maybe it’s true. Maybe some guy on duty at the gym really saw a 6’1″ monster with a bunch of adults and decided, “Ya know what? That kid ain’t 13. No chance.” Maybe he then kicked a 12-year old literally to the curb. Maybe Ray was very bothered by the incident. Maybe Ray sits in front of his locker before every game, meditating and thinking about that damn guy who didn’t let him into the open gym. Maybe he even keeps a picture of that damn guy underneath his pillow, just to remind himself of that life-altering day. Maybe when Ray goes cold, it isn’t because his stroke is faltering — it’s because he didn’t think enough about that damn guy before the game, and thus didn’t have the proper motivation.
But consider me unsold. C’mon, Ray, tell us your real inspiration.
There was one part of the story I most definitely believed, though.
“When he was born, I looked at his hands and feet and said he’s going to be in the NBA,” Walter Allen said in a telephone interview. “And that is the truth, too. I actually said that when he was born.”
If the story was true, why couldn’t I have ever been denied access to a gym? If I had, I’d be setting my sights on on the NBA’s all-time three-point shooting record.