Kobe Bryant has a kinship with Ray Allen. Despite their sometimes sordid history, Bryant and Allen are brothers, selected 13th and 5th respectively in the 1996 NBA Draft. So while it was surprising to hear Bryant's praise of Allen after the game, it shouldn't have been.
“For the fans I’m sure it’s sweet, but for me, I’m truly happy for Ray," said Bryant. "That’s just unbelievable. I just told him congratulations. It’s a mutual respect kind of thing, because we both came into this league together. There’s not too many [players] from that draft still playing and competing at a high level so I’m very, very happy for him."
Allen and Bryant have undoubtedly contemplated their own athletic mortality. The rest of the selections at the top of that draft read like a list of has-been's or never-were's: Stephon Marbury, Antoine Walker, Kerry Kittles, Todd Fuller, Vitaly Potapenko, Samaki Walker. Allen Iverson was a great player, but he, too, is out of the league.
Allen's passing of Reggie Miller is impressive at any age. It's the NBA record for most 3-pointers made, after all. Allen broke the record in 309 fewer games than Miller. That's a little more than three fewer seasons.
In other words, Allen isn't done at 2,562 3-pointers. Teammate Paul Pierce said Allen could play "four or five more years". Allen is under contract with the Celtics for the rest of this season as well as next season. He is 35-years-old, which means five more seasons will have him playing until he is 40. That's an age unheard of for NBA shooting guards. But if any player can physically pull that off, it's Allen.
"It's about eating right, it's about taking care of my body," said Allen. "It's about getting sleep. I made a commitment to myself in this game. I always compared my body to a Ferrari, and I said I have to put the best gas in it...This right now, this moment, is vindication for everything I've done."
Allen hasn't made fewer than 145 threes in a season in four seasons with the Celtics. If he kept that pace up as a minimum, he'd pick up 580 more 3-pointers in four more seasons, not to mention what he does the rest of this year. He's on pace for way more than 145 this season. Reaching 3,000 3-pointers is very much in reach for Allen, even if he can't reach Pierce's prediction of four more productive years.
Allen has quite a head start on anyone who'd like to challenge the record. Pierce, who is 12th on the all-time 3-point list and is younger than Allen, said tonight, "I'll never catch him."
For a while, anyways, Pierce will be right.