The fact that Ray Allen is now playing with his third NBA team should come as no surprise. The reality is, he’s spent most of his life on the road.
Born July 20, 1975, in Merced, California, Walter Ray Allen was the third of Walter and Flora Allen’s five children. Walter was a welding specialist with the Air Force, so the family moved like they were on wheels, even going as far abroad as England, before landing at Dalzell, South Carolina, where Ray went to high school at Hillcrest High.
A born athlete, Ray was motivated by many factors to get better at basketball, from his first growth spurt at 10 when he found he first had the gift up to being kept out of the gym at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina for not being at least 16 despite being bigger and better than most of the players there. But, there was an even bigger motivation, and a very hard decision, on the horizon.
After his junior season at Hillcrest, he and his longtime girlfriend, Rosalind Ramsey, found out that they were about to have a baby. Showing an ability to make the right decision early, he passed a test many men fail: He resolved to support his family. Knowing it would take a college education to do it, he worked hard on his game to get a scholarship. Arrangements were made, and Rosalind and baby would stay with her parents until he graduated, then they were his responsibility.
So, once again, the traveling man took to the road, first to Connecticut, then Milwaukee and the NBA, then to Sydney in 2000 to win a gold medal, then, in 2003, to Seattle, and now Boston is home after he was traded there this off-season to join two other perennial All-Stars, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. He’s the second-leading three point shooter of all time, behind only Reggie Miller.
He also continues to do the right thing, establishing the Ray of Hope Foundation to help underprivileged kids stay on course to find their dreams through sports and community programs.
Ray Allen is, as always, still one of the all-around good guys. The cynical satirical online paper “The Onion” even ran a story on him called “Pro Athlete Lauded For Being Decent Human Being.” And that’s saying something.