Ray Allen has one of the cleanest releases in NBA history. He always jumped in the air the same, and the ball flicked off his fingers with ease as it journeyed to the rim.
Allen had the perfect jumper, and because of it, he had one of the best careers a hooper could imagine.
A two-time champion and Hall of Famer, Allen made one of the best clutch shots in league history. Flash back to Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals: The Miami Heat are down 95-92 with under 20 seconds left in regulation against the San Antonio Spurs.
As LeBron James missed a 3-pointer, Chris Bosh got the rebound.Bosh found Allen, who had hustled back to the 3-point line.
Allen’s ability to know where the 3-point line was and not step out of bounds is a testament to his basketball IQ. He could have even had a toe on the line, but because of his practice and reps, he got where he needed to be.
The shot was as clean as any Allen made throughout his career — only this one was the biggest and most important. The game went into overtime, and the Heat went on to win the game and the series.
Though he ended his career in Miami, Allen spent a good chunk of time with the Seattle SuperSonics. He was traded to the franchise from the Milwaukee Bucks in the middle of the 2002-03 season. The bulk of his best statistical years were in Seattle, averaging 24.6 points per game during his tenure with the team.
A 10-time All-Star, Allen had his best season scoring-wise during the 2006-07 campaign, his last with the Sonics before he was traded to the Boston Celtics in the summer of 2007.
That season, Allen scored a career-high 26.4 points per game and ranked sixth in the league for the category. He also shot 37.2% from the 3-point line.
Allen is one of the SuperSonics’ best players ever. According to Basketball Reference, he ranks fifth in 3-point field goals (869) in SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder history.
He also has the fourth-highest career points per game average in franchise history, right behind Kevin Durant, Paul George and Spencer Haywood.
When Allen played with the Celtics, he gave more meaning to his storied career. He helped bring in the Big 3 era with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
The trio led the Celtics to the title in 2008, earning the franchise’s first since 1986. During that championship season, Allen was third on the Celtics in points per game (17.4) and second in 3-point percentage (39.8%).
As one of the best shooters ever, Allen holds the title of the NBA’s 3-point champion — that is, until Steph Curry eventually catches up. But for now, Allen ranks first all-time in 3-point field goals (2,973).
That jumper took Allen places, but his scoring prowess elevated him into the league’s upper echelon of all-time greats. A member of the 20,000-point club, Allen finished his career with 24,505 points.