It's official, Ray Allen is now in the record books for being the person most of us suspected him of being long ago: the greatest 3-point shooter in the history of the NBA. Allen broke the record by hitting his 2,561st three-pointer on a pass from teammate Rajon Rondo. Kobe Bryant was guarding him at the time, making the moment that much more meaningful.
Also in the crowd was Reggie Miller, the man who is now number two on the all-time list. Miller congratulated Allen, as most champions would, and Allen let Miller know before the game that he modeled his shooting style after him.
What I love about Ray Allen is his amazing and legendary work ethic. He is reportedly the first guy in the building every morning and the last one to leave. I suspected as much, since you can't possess that kind of shooting ability without working your butt into the ground.
One thing that young players can learn from guys like Allen is that being great at sports or anything else is far deeper than simply having the most talent (lots of players have that). Beyond raw athletic ability, there must be a deep and consistent commitment to giving extraordinary effort during each and every practice. Allen didn't become a great shooter by cocking his arms back at every turn and trying to look pretty on the court. He became a great player by shooting thousands of shots every single day before, during and after practice. I was once a pretty good shooter myself (not as good as Ray of course), and it was the 500 three-pointers I took every morning that allowed me to drain them with ease.
Otherwise, I should congratulate Ray on his outstanding achievement. He has represented his sport quite well and pursued a what appears to be a good family life, full of productivity and intelligence, all of which seems to have been without significant scandal. In the chaotic world of NBA life, that is a feat worth recognizing.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. To follow Dr. Boyce on Facebook, please click here.