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Ray Allen retires, writes he is 'at peace with himself'

By The Sports Xchange
Ray Allen retires, writes he is 'at peace with himself'
Former Miami Heat guard Ray Allen (L) and forward LeBron James embrace during an event where President Barack Obama welcomed the 2013 NBA Champions Miami Heat to the White House, in Washington, D.C. on January 14, 2014. The Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 playoffs. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

Ray Allen, a 10-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion, officially announced his retirement after 18 seasons on Tuesday morning.

Allen last played in the 2013-14 season and has been tied to rumors of a potential return ever since. On Tuesday, he wrote a letter for The Players' Tribune saying he is walking away for good.

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"I write this to you today as a 41-year-old man who is retiring from the game," Allen wrote. "I write to you as a man who is completely at peace with himself."

A likely first-ballot Hall of Famer, Allen had career averages of 18.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 1,300 games.

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He departs as the NBA's all-time leader in 3-pointers made (2,973), and established himself as one of the greatest 3-point and free-throw shooters, boasting career marks of 40 and 89.4 percent respectively.

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Originally a No. 5 overall pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1996 draft, Allen was immediately traded along with Andrew Lang to the Milwaukee Bucks for the rights to draft Stephon Marbury.

Allen spent his first 6 1/2 seasons with the Bucks, earning a spot on the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 1996.

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On Feb. 20, 2003, Allen was traded along with Ronald Murray, Kevin Ollie and a first-round draft pick to the Seattle Super Sonics for Gary Payton and Desmond Mason.

He spent 4 1/2 years in Seattle before the trade that transformed his already stellar legacy to a championship one.

Allen was acquired by the Boston Celtics along with Glen Davis for Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West and a second-round pick in a draft-night deal on June 28, 2007.

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That trade laid the groundwork for Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to acquire Kevin Garnett from the Timberwolves to pair with longtime Boston stars Paul Pierce and Allen.

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In their first season together, Allen, Garnett and Pierce ended the Celtics' 22-year championship drought -- and Allen took home his first ring.

"As one of the greatest shooting guards in the history of basketball, Ray Allen defined the word professionalism," Ainge said in a statement on Tuesday. "Ray was born with special talent, but it was his leadership, tireless preparation, and infectious work ethic that made him a great teammate and champion. We would not have won the 2008 title without him."

"Ray was a key member of the Big Three who helped drive us to Banner 17," Celtics managing partner Steve Pagliuca said in a statement. "He is one of the best shooters and clutch players in NBA history, and we were fortunate to be able to witness his magic on the parquet. We wish him well in his retirement."

After five years in Boston, Allen spurned the Celtics in free agency to join the rival Miami Heat, where he would team with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to win another championship in 2013.

During a hard-fought, seven-game NBA Finals series with the San Antonio Spurs, Allen made a critical last-second 3-pointer in Game 6 to keep the Heat alive and ultimately lead them to a title.

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"Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade. The men who you are going to win championships with are all going to be very different people," Allen said in the letter, which was written to his younger self. "What makes them champions is the boring old habits that nobody sees. They compete to see who can be the first to get to the gym and the last to leave."

Allen and the Heat returned to the Finals the next season, only to lose to the Spurs.

Off the court, Allen earned a place in pop-culture lore for his role as "Jesus Shuttlesworth" in the Spike Lee-directed film "He Got Game," released in 1998.

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