Ray Allen Still Rolling After All These Years
Ray Allen doesn't hesitate to reveal some secrets of his longevity to younger teammates. So at a Halloween party last month at Allen's house, the Boston guard took Delonte West into his garage.
There he showed off his $10,000 bike. It's a recent investment to help keep Allen, 35, in great shape.
"I'm learning a lot from him just in the short time (of being in Boston after signing in September) in how he takes care of his body,'' said West, 27, who figures to get even more tips from Allen after he was lost for several months Wednesday with a broken right wrist. "Not that many people invest that much money on a bike to ride. It's like something Lance Armstrong would ride. But that's what you do when you want to become the ultimate pro, you invest to keep yourself in top shape.''
Allen has been riding for about a dozen years and had the same bike. But earlier this year he upgraded to a bike designed specifically for him.
"I'd been looking to get a new one so I used this company out of Boston, Independent Fabrication,'' Allen said in an interview with FanHouse. "I wanted something ultralight, and I just went to a bike shop to figure out what's new and what's out there. We put together a bike based on my specifications. It's like one of those bikes you can pick up with two fingers. It's just real light.''
The bike is so high tech there are no wires to the gears; instead the gears are able to be read through electronics and what Allen commands on the handlebar. And the colors of the bike?
"I got it green and black, so it's the same exact (colors as the Celtics),'' Allen said.
Allen's color choice isn't surprising since he has no interest in playing for any other team. Allen last summer signed a two-year, $20 million contract with Boston, which is where he says he wants to end his NBA career.
"We're always in a restless situation when it comes to talking about being on a better team or being in a better city,'' Allen said about so many NBA players. "I have no plans to be anywhere else (but Boston). ... You figure we're (as players) auditioning every night we step out and play. So you do everything you can to convince your team that you're who they need to stick with in the future.''
The 15-year veteran is showing he doesn't figure to slow down anytime soon. Allen is shooting a career-high 44.9 percent from 3-point range and his minutes average of 37.7 is on pace for the highest of his four Celtics seasons.
Allen, who ranks 44th with a 16.7 average, and Phoenix guard Steve Nash, who is 36 and ranks 28th, are the NBA's only players 35 or older to be in the top 60 in scoring.
"He's always been in great shape, perfect shape,'' said center Shaquille O'Neal, in his first season with the Celtics. "His game is just shoot. Stay in the corner. Shoot. Come off screens. Shoot. And he can probably play five more years.''
O'Neal, 38, is the only Boston player older than Allen, and he's offering some motivation. Maybe, just maybe, Allen can play as long as O'Neal, who plans to retire at the end of next season, when he will be 40.
"I admire Shaq because this is his 19th year,'' Allen said. "I don't know if I'll make it that long. But at least I know I have an idea of just kind of keeping fresh in the mind and keeping a fresh body that that is a potential.''
O'Neal, though, is a big man. Starting with Kevin Willis, Robert Parish, Dikembe Mutombo and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who all played until they were 42 or older, most of the very effective players in their late 30s and beyond have been big man.
As for shooting guards, the list is much shorter. Two prominent ones to have lasted quite a long time were Michael Jordan, who made it until 40, and Reggie Miller, who retired at 39.
Miller is the NBA's all-time leader in 3-pointers made with 2,560. Allen is second at 2,479, and figures to break the record later this season.
"I've never seen him out of shape,'' Boston coach Doc Rivers said of Allen. "I golf with him in August and he looks like he just played a game the night before, he's in such great shape. ... He shoots more than everybody. I try to tell our kids it's no coincidence he takes more shots (than anybody) on our team in practice, and he's our best shooter.''
Allen said it's also a matter of understanding the changes he must make with age.
"When you get older and you still continue to care about it and you still have the same passion for it, then what you realize is it's a lot harder,'' Allen said. "You know kind of what your weight is supposed to be, what your body fat is supposed to be, what your wind feels like. So you do whatever you can to maintain that.
"Sometimes you have to work out twice a day or you have to get on a treadmill when you land in a city. You pay closer attention to your body. You always monitor what you eat but then you monitor it even more. And you get even more rest. I've traveled to a lot of different cities, you go out to dinner and occasionally you hang out. But, as you get older, you kind of cut it back a whole lot because you know what your body needs to rest and heal and to perform.''
Allen isn't showing many signs of age. Look for him for quite a while longer to be showing his stuff on the parquet at TD Banknorth Garden and on the streets of Boston with his $10,000 bike.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson