The sweetest jumper in league history belongs to Ray Allen. The machine like consistency of his shooting stroke looked the same for 18 seasons… straight butter. Allen retired from the NBA leading the league in all-time 3pointers made and attempted but don’t be fooled, his shooting expertise made him extremely deadly from mid-range and the free-throw line too. As a member of the famous 1996 draft class, Allen was selected 5th overall by the Timberwolves then traded to Milwaukee where he would build a reputation as one of the league’s best, young, shooting guards. ‘Sugar’ Ray’s best remembered within in sneaker-world for the unmatched quality of his Air Jordan PEs – as Michael Jordan transitioned out of the league Ray found himself as (one of) the new face(s) of Jordan Brand. The ‘new’ way in which Allen played helped define what it means to be an NBA ‘sharpshooter’. Ray was catching bodies on the daily wearing Jordans. In the 2000 Olympics, while wearing the Jordan VI in a special olympic colorway, Allen showcased his ability to play off of others while always posing as a scoring threat (this skill would prove invaluable in Boston). The summer games weren’t Allen’s first time wearing exclusive Jordans though, he had so many sick pairs that we (sneakerheads) basically associate him with the brand now.
Today In Sneaker History we celebrate Ray Allen’s forty-third birthday with a look back at the most important kicks worn at various stops throughout in his career.
It was extremely difficult to pick just one shoe per-chapter in Allen’s career. Please go Google some of his other kicks, you’ll find a rabbit hole of awesomeness!
1. He put the ‘game’ in He Got Game:
Shoe: Air Foamposite Pro
Averages: three smiles in the entire movie and one big beef with Jack Shuttleworth.
Accolades: Finally beat his dad, Jake, in 1 v 1.
Why?: HGG is arguably one of the greatest sports films ever and probably the most critically acclaimed basketball movie created.
2. One of uConn’s Finest Huskies:
Shoe: Nike Air Max Uptempo (various)
When: 1993- 1996
Averages: 19 ppg, 44% 3-pt, 6 rpg
Accolades: Big East Player Of The year, x2 First-team Big East
Why?: Allen gained national attention while attending uConn where he showcased his shooting prowess. His play ended up earning him consideration as a top draft prospect.
3. Milwaukee Bucks Dunks:
Shoe: Air Jordan XVI
When: 1996- 2003
Averages:19.6 ppg, 40% 3-pt, 4 rpg
Accolades: x3 All-Star, 2001 3-pt Competition Champ
Why?: Allen would dunk on people so hard they’d think they saw Jesus… dirty moves, people forget Ray had some mobility in his youth. Defenders would get shook, shot-on or dunked-on… pick your poison.
4. Making Seattle Super Again:
Shoe: Jordan V
When: 2003- 2007
Averages: 24.6 ppg, 38% 3-pt, 4 rpg
Accolades: x4 All-Star, 2005 All-NBA Second Team
Why? Though Allen and the Sonics made the playoffs only once, his play helped put Seattle back on the map post-Gary Payton.
5. Boston’s Sharpshooter:
Shoe: Air Jordan XIII
When: 2007- 2012
Averages: 16.7 ppg, 40% 3-pt, 3 rpg
Accolades: NBA Champion (2008), x3 All-Star, set NBA All-Time 3-Point Makes record (while wearing his AJ XIII PE)
Why?: When Boston brought on Allen and Kevin Garnett they formed the league’s modern ‘Big-3’ model. The teamwork of Allen, Garnett and Pierce resulted in Boston’s first championship since the 1980’s.
6. Miami’s Savior
Shoe: Air Jordan XI
When: 2012- 2014
Averages: 10 ppg, 38% 3-pt, 1 season saving 3-pointer in the Finals.
Accolades: NBA Champion (2013), most clutch 3 ever
Why: Allen left Boston for their rival in the south, Miami, for one reason… another ring. If Ray Allen and his clutch shooting wasn’t on the Heat roster in 2013 then LeBron’s legacy would look a lot different…