Basketball in the NBA is a game of heroes and legends, inspiring their loyal fans. As the dust sets on a generation of superstars, it’s time to reminisce about their exploits and legacies.
Spotlight on: Ray Allen
The legacy: The man credited with the prettiest jumper in NBA history, Ray Allen inspired a generation of fans to emulate his picture-perfect shooting form. Early in his career, he played the starring role of Jesus Shuttlesworth in Spike Lee’s acclaimed classic ‘He Got Game’, earning a nickname that would stick with him for the rest of his career, as he progressed from a youngster trying to lead his franchise to a deadly assassin from deep and a two-time NBA champion.
Evolution of their game: As the 5th pick of the legendary 1996 NBA Draft class, the 6-foot-5 guard quickly became the star of the Milwaukee Bucks with his innate gift for shooting the ball as well as his smooth ball-handling and athletic finishes at the rim. He tried in vain to lift the Bucks and then the Seattle Supersonics to the next level, before joining Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce on the Boston Celtics and subsequently LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat. Playing beside other great players, Allen adapted for the team’s benefit, cutting relentlessly off screens to strike fear into opponents’ hearts as the League’s premier marksman.
Most memorable moments: In earning two NBA titles, Ray Allen has always stepped up when it counted most. This included a record-setting shooting night with seven treys as the Celtics routed the Lakers to win the championship in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals. For most fans though, there was no bigger moment for Allen than when he saved the Heat’s season in the 2013 Finals with a frantic step-back game-tying three, with hardly any time to even look at the rim.