Paul Pierce just had his jersey retired by the Boston Celtics and one conspicuous figure missing from the momentous event was former teammate Ray Allen. Pierce and Allen, along with other members of the 2008 NBA Championship team have had their differences since the latter left Boston for the Miami Heat prior to the 2012-13 NBA season. The two, however, have since patched things up and there were hopes Allen would show up at the ceremony.
Despite not witnessing the No. 34 jersey raised to the rafters at the TD Garden, Allen continues to patch things up with Pierce as the former NBA star posted a lengthy message as a tribute to the Celtics legend, as ESPN reported.
“What we did in 2008 was special,” Allen said. “Not only by Boston standards but by professional sports standards. The truth is, without any one of us on that team we would’ve never been able to do the unthinkable.”
After enumerating all the players from the 2008 championship team and everyone else who had a part with the team’s success, Allen hinted he was hurt by all the negativities hurled his way after he left Boston.
“Over the last few years I have been berated, lambasted and had my name smeared. You may not want to hear this, but I will always be a Celtic. (Fact).”
“I will always cherish the bonds that I shared with all of my teammates and the people in the city of Boston (Truth),” Allen said. “We all gave everything we had. We all won and we raised the 2008 NBA Championship banner together. (Ubuntu).”
“Despite what you may have heard or read or what is rumored- there is nothing but love. Paul and I are more interested in building bridges than putting up walls.”
“To Paul, number 34, Congratulations on having your number raised up to the rafters,” Allen said further. “I salute you for your commitment to the city of Boston and to us the 2008 NBA Champions.”
Ray Allen’s absence did not put a damper on Paul Pierce’s night as other Boston Celtics personalities were on hand to witness the jersey retirement. Making it to the event were some of Pierce and Allen’s former teammates on the famed championship team including Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and former head coach Doc Rivers.
Pierce doesn’t see anything wrong with Allen skipping the ceremony, according to Bleacher Report. Speaking on ESPN’s The Jump, Pierce said he held no ill will toward Allen for not being there for his special day. Pierce even joked he was more bothered Tony Allen wasn’t there.
“I’m more upset that the other Allen wasn’t there – Tony Allen,” Pierce said. “Our young guy.”
Pierce further poked fun at Tony Allen saying he was recently waived therefore he was free to come to the ceremony.
“These guys that I talk to every week,” Pierce continued. “I’m more upset at the other Allen because he was just waived. He’s at home. He could have been here.”
“A lot of guys weren’t there, and he [Ray Allen] lives, where, in Miami? To each his own, but I have no problem with that.”
The rift between Allen and his former teammates started when Ray went to Miami to team up with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, a move he explained as a decision made for his family. Pierce said he was “initially hurt” by Allen’s decision because of how the breakup happened. Pierce said he would have told everyone of his thoughts if he was the one leaving the team.
“I just figured if it was me leaving, I would have [called each player ad said] ‘this is what I’ve been thinking about,’ That’s what I was hurt by when Ray didn’t at least give us a heads up about it.”
Pierce and Allen took everyone by surprise when Paul shared a photo of the two together on Instagram. Pierce said in the post it was “time to get the band back together” and “bury the hatchet.”
“No matter what happen[ed], we all formed a special bond that can never [be] broken,” Pierce said in the post with the hashtag #onceacelticalwaysaceltic.