NBA star Ray Allen has announced his retirement from basketball in the form of a published letter he wrote to his 13-year-old self.
The letter, which was written for The Players’ Tribune, has Allen recalling his childhood as a military son, his tenure playing basketball for the University of Connecticut, and his 18 year career in the NBA.
“I write this to you today as a 41-year-old man who is retiring from the game. I write to you as a man who is completely at peace with himself,” Allen includes.
Throughout his illustrious career, the 6’5″ guard has won two NBA championships, earned an Olympic gold medal, and set the NBA record for three-point shots by netting nearly 3,000.
In his letter, Allen encourages his younger self to endure the hardships and struggles of his alienation at school growing up, and to put his energy into finding a purpose on the basketball court, which will eventually lead to discovering a greater purpose in life.
“The hell you experience when you get off that bus will be temporary. Basketball will take you far away from that school yard. You will become far more than just a basketball player,” he writes. “You’ll get to act in movies. You’ll travel the world. You will become a husband, and the father of five amazing children.”
Allen cites his family as his top priority post-basketball, writing, “Now, the most important question in your life isn’t ‘Who am I supposed to be?’ or even, ‘What do I have to do to win another championship?’ It’s, ‘Daddy, guess what happened in math class today?’ That’s the reward that awaits you at the end of your journey.”
Despite his official retirement announcement coming now, Allen has not competed in the NBA since 2014, when he became a free agent and took the following season off. He was expected to play for the 2015-2016 season but never signed with a team.
Regardless, Ray Allen’s absence from the game will be deeply felt though he his legacy will continue to live on in basketball history.
He joins the ranks of fellow NBA greats Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant, who also hung up their uniforms for good this year.