Almost five years later, some former Boston Celtics still have not forgiven Ray Allen for his departure.
Rajon Rondo recently told the Undefeated’s Marc Spears why the 2008 team has decided not to invite Allen to a 10-year anniversary celebration of the most recent Celtics championship. The whole story is worth a read, but the money quotes follow below:
“I asked a couple of the guys. I got a no, a no head shake,” Rondo said. …
“It will be a long story about that, but it is what it is,” Rondo, who plays for the Chicago Bulls, told The Undefeated. “I don’t know a good analogy to put this in. It just wasn’t the greatest separation. It wasn’t the greatest thing that could’ve happened to us as a team, a bond. We were at war with those guys (Miami). To go with the enemy, that’s unheard-of in sports. Well, it’s not so unheard of. It’s damn near common now.
“The mindset we had. The guys on our team. You wouldn’t do anything like that. It makes you question that series in the Finals … Who were you for? You didn’t bleed green. People think we had a messed-up relationship. It’s not the greatest. But it’s not just me. I called and reached out to a couple of other vets and asked them what they wanted to do with the situation. They told me to stick with what we got (without Allen).”
One former Celtics player from the 2008 NBA championship team said of Allen’s exclusion from the party: “I mean, Ray left. He left to the enemy.”
Not everybody from the ’08 team wants to keep Allen away from the party, which Rondo plans to hold this summer even if it’s a little early for a 10-year anniversary. Leon Powe told Spears he would like to see Allen receive an invitation. But whoever Rondo talked to (reminder: he has a group text chain with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, among others) did not want to include the sharpshooter in the festivities. According to Spears’ story, every other player from that team except the difficult-to-reach P.J. Brown* has been invited on the vacation.
Are the ’08 Celtics a salty bunch? Absolutely! I realize it must have stung when Allen left as a free agent for Boston’s biggest rival, but almost everyone from that Celtics team has retired already. It’s probably time to let go of a five-year-old work disagreement.
Regardless of how the end occurred, the over-the-top bitterness required to plan a party without Allen and reveal why he did not receive an invitation is both comical and sad. The hostility runs so deep that the Big Three — which fit so powerfully on the court from Day 1 — seems like it might remain cracked forever. From the outside I feel like it’s a shame that a group of people who accomplished so much together have been broken by their differences, but the Celtics powers that be have excommunicated Allen and don’t seem very interested in reversing their decision any time soon.
*Would somebody please find P.J. Brown?