The National Basketball Association has seen its fair share of incredible shooters over the years. In fact, one of these maestros is currently lighting up scoreboards as we speak. But until further notice, only a single individual can stand alone at the top of the three-point shooting mountain. That man, Ray Allen, decided the time has come to officially walk away from the game.
Using The Players’ Tribune, Allen announced his retirement from the NBA in a touching “Letter to My Younger Self.” In this poetic letter, the 10-time All-Star talked about everything from the importance of habits to the mentality of his former championship-winning teammates. Most importantly, however, the legendary sharpshooter noted that after an 18-year career, he is “completely at peace with himself.” Considering he’s a surefire Hall of Famer — and two-time NBA champion — with 2,973 career three-point makes (the most all time) under his belt, we’d say he has every reason to feel good about the legacy he’s cemented. Still, that doesn’t mean the sport won’t miss him.
Therefore, in honor of Allen’s retirement, we feel it’s only fitting that we take a look at some of the biggest shots ever made, courtesy of one of the game’s greatest shooters. While Ray-Ray has managed to hit more clutch shots than we could possibly count, we think these six buckets top them all.
6. Allen downs the Raptors
On November, 4, 2007, in just his second regular-season game ever in a Boston Celtics uniform, Allen wasted little time showing he was more than worth the offseason acquisition. With under five seconds left to play in overtime, and the C’s and Toronto Raptors knotted up at 95, Paul Pierce hit Allen in the corner with an inbounds pass — and that was all she wrote. Ray-Ray released the shot over the outstretched arms of the defender and knocked down the triple, putting Boston up 98-95. That would be the final score of the game, as Allen finished the night with 33 points on 11 for 16 shooting, including seven of 11 from three-point range. Not a bad way to introduce yourself to a new team.
5. Allen silences the Bulls on the 2009 playoffs
While folks tend to remember how Allen dropped 51 points against the Chicago Bulls in Game 6 of the first round of the 2009 playoffs, we happen to believe his finest moment of the series actually took place in Game 2. With the scored tied at 115, the Celtics had the ball with just over 10 seconds left to play in regulation. After using multiple screens to get himself open on the right wing, Allen received the pass from Rajon Rondo and cooly buried the triple over the outstretched arm of Joakim Noah. That bucket gave him a team-leading 30 points on the night and secured the 118-115 victory for Boston.
4. Allen beats the Bobcats
For a brief moment it appeared as if the Charlotte Bobcats, who were up 95-93 with just under five seconds left to play, would eek out a victory over the Boston Celtics on November 24, 2007. Then, chaos ensued. The Bobcats had their inbounds pass tipped and then stolen by Paul Pierce, who immediately found Allen open at the top of the key. Quick release. Splash. Ball game! Oh, how quickly things can change — especially if you have a player like Jesus Shuttlesworth on your side.
3. Allen sinks the Suns in double-OT
What’s more exciting than a 152-149 double-overtime thriller? Being the guy who wins said game with a three-pointer at the buzzer, that’s what. After receiving the inbounds pass with 2.5 seconds left on the clock, Allen proceeded to knock down a deep triple from well beyond the three-point arc to give the Seattle SuperSonics a hard-fought victory over the Phoenix Suns. If that’s not enough, Ray-Ray finished the game with 42 points on 14 of 28 shooting, including eight of 16 from long range.
2. Allen breaks Reggie Miller’s record
Although the Boston Celtics lost at home to the Los Angeles Lakers on February 10, 2011, this game was much bigger than the final score. On this night, Allen knocked down the 2,561 three-pointer of his career, besting the all-time mark previously held by the great Reggie Miller. The NBA has seen some prolific three-point shooters over the years. Thanks to this incredible accomplishment, Allen, until further notice, tops them all.
1. Allen rescues the Heat
Of all the clutch shots Allen’s nailed throughout his career, none were bigger than the corner three he hit against the San Antonio Spurs during the final seconds of Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. This heroic shot tied the score at 95, sent the game into overtime, and kept Miami’s championship dreams alive. It’s safe to say that without this bucket, King James’s legacy would look a whole lot different.