Ray Allen's Call to Aircraft Carrier Puts Christmas Day Debate in Perspective
Except for this time.
While most of his teammates were loosening up, or taking shots Friday morning -- preparing for their Christmas Day game against the Orlando Magic -- guard Ray Allen was on the phone talking with soldiers on the USS Abraham Lincoln, the aircraft carrier sailing through waters in Southwest Asia.
His voice was being piped to an estimated 5,000 military men and women on the ship, smiling as he answered some of their questions, and offered them words of encouragement.
Allen, as much as anyone in the NBA, knows the sacrifices that those soldiers are making. He is the son of a military man, and he moved many times as a youngster as he followed his family from stop to stop. He has both friends and relatives now serving in the military around the world.
"Talking to these guys means a great deal to me,'' Allen said after his call. "We're over here, complaining about playing Christmas, but we're basically home on United States soil. We're at least close to our families. Some of those guys in the military haven't seen their families in a year, or six months, or maybe three months.''
In contrast to people like Lakers coach Phil Jackson and Heat star LeBron James, who have whined publicly about having to play on Christmas Day, Allen views it as part of his job -- a safe, easy job compared to what military men and women are doing for a much higher cause.
"This (phone call) really puts it in proper perspective. We're playing a game we love every single day. Those people fighting for our freedom are the ones who are away from their families. All this talk about playing Christmas Day, it's pebbles compared to what our soldiers are doing,'' he said. "I just told them that I appreciate what they're doing, and we're happy to provide them a little entertainment while they're doing that.''
Someone on the aircraft carrier did ask him a question that made him laugh. They asked who he would be rooting for in the Lakers-Heat game being played after the Celtics-Magic game.
"I just said, 'Is it possible for both of them to lose?''' he said.
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