After spending his early evening discussing a collage of the shoes that he has donned during his illustrious career, Ray Allen expressed shock of hearing of the passing of former Milwaukee Bucks teammate Armen Gilliam, who collapsed last night playing pickup basketball in Pittsburgh. He was 47.
Allen and Gilliam played together with the Bucks during Allen’s first three NBA seasons: 1996 to 1999.
“Man that’s tough to hear,” Allen said. “It saddens me because I think about him on the cover of ‘Sports Illustrated’ when he was at UNLV. There’s a time where we are all so invincible. Hearing that, yeah that’s a tough one.”
Allen was just steps from Fenway Park at the The Fourth Wall Project showing kids and other attendees about the various shoes he wore the past 15 years. The shoes were displayed on a mural called “Wall of Hope” with a timeline of memorable Allen moments, such as his first NBA season, breaking the single-season 3-point record in 2006 and his big Game 2 of the 2008 Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Even me sitting here and seeing it, a lot of great memories,” he said. “With my shoes I think about where I came from. Just never having never worn one of those shoes when I was young. I really didn’t care about that, I just knew my family couldn’t afford those shoes. I didn’t press my parents to buy those shoes for me. It just always forced me to work hard to say to myself I worked hard enough to get to this point where I can put these things on my feet.”
Benefits from the event funded Allen’s “Ray of Hope” Foundation, which helps funds sports programs for local youths. Because of the lockout, no Celtics officials were allowed to attend and Allen said he is prepared for a long stoppage.
“It’s really hard to say, it could be next week, the lockout could end or it could carry on,” he said. “I’ve been in this situation back in ’99. We just have to sit and keep ourselves healthy, take care of our bodies. It hurt a lot of players last time and it sent them into retirement and they weren’t ready when the season came back and got out of shape. The lesson for me is to keep myself together and the guys that I play with.”