Ray Allen's Interests and Contributions Extend Far Beyond the Basketball CourtRay Allen is renowned for his three point shooting prowess and he will long be remembered for the clutch three pointer that enabled the Miami Heat to push the 2013 NBA Finals to seven games en route to capturing their second consecutive championship--but he is a lot more than just a guy who scores prolifically from long distance: Allen is a well-rounded person who continually strives to educate himself and educate those around him. He has made it an annual personal tradition to visit the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., bringing along teammates, team personnel and others. In a 2010 interview conducted by Aleisa Fishman, Allen explained why he first went to the U.S. Holocaust Museum and why he continues to do so:
My first visit to the Holocaust Museum, I had just gotten to the NBA. And I heard about it. I've always been, you know, a guy that's gone to museums. My coach in college was very much into taking us places and teaching us things while we traveled throughout the course of the season. And so, I just picked up that. When I traveled, I always went to places, cities. I'd try to figure out what different cities had to offer. And I just remember the first time I went there, it being so profound. And it's a lesson for everybody. That's something that stayed true to me. And I've been four or five times. And every time I go, I see something different. And when I come back, I always take somebody different.
I brought a friend of mine and he was an older black gentleman. And he, you know, he walked through and he had so many questions, and he couldn't believe that some of the things that he saw had taken place. And after we got done, we walked out and the first thing he questioned was, "What about slavery?" He was an older gentleman but, you know, it kind of made him angry, because he wanted to see something like that about the plight of the black people in America, about slavery. And I told him…I said, "This is about slavery." This is about people being enslaved and people being annihilated. And this is a lesson, so slavery doesn't happen anymore, so people don't believe that they're better than the next person. This is all about slavery. It just so happens to be spoken through the words of the Jewish people in the Holocaust, people who the Nazis tried to annihilate.
You take any person through the Museum, based on their experiences and their life, they're going to see different things. And they're going to talk about the things they want to talk about. But I think the most important thing is communication. That's a powerful, powerful tool, just talking about it and trying to understand it, and learn from it, and grow.
Allen is also playing an integral role in the NBA's celebration of Black History Month; he helped to design a shooting shirt that the Heat will wear during selected games in February. The shooting shirt features images of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Bill Russell and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Allen explained, "It's another celebration that we can improve on to try to create greater awareness, talking about where we've come as a people, as a league and as a country. It's an opportunity to talk about a great leader of the past, but even Martin Luther King, what he fought for was civil liberties not just for black people, but for all people. So to me, Black History Month has always been about equality of all people."
He added, "It's not just about the black players in the league. It's about where we've come, what we've fought for, equality amongst all races, ethnicities, cultures and groups."
posted by David Friedman @ 6:29 PM