Ray Allen is saying goodbye to the NBA.
Allen, 41, officially confirmed his retirement with the league in an emotional letter to his younger self, posted by The Players Tribune. In the lengthy article, the athlete talks to his 13-year-old self about how to handle being a military kid turned NBA star.
“In high school, you might think you understand what it takes to be a great basketball player, but you will truly have no idea. When you get to UConn, your coach will show you what hard work really is,” he writes, before launching into advice about starting the NBA.
“You’ll get to play against your heroes: Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler. You’ll play alongside Hall of Famers: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade. Sometimes you’ll be afraid. Sometimes you’ll think you’re out of your league,” he explains. “But you’ll keep showing up every day, putting in the work.”
Allen adds, “You’ll put up more than 26,000 shots in your career. Almost six out of 10 won’t even go in. I told you this game was a sonofabitch. Don’t worry, though. A successful man is built of 1,000 failures. Or in your case, 14,000 misses. You’ll win a championship in Boston. You’ll win another in Miami.”
Allen stopped playing in 2014; however, he never officially retired. The former Bucks and Sonics player will leave the game as a 10-time All-Star with two NBA championships.