Disappointment is always harder to deal with than anger. Anger is so blind, so irrational, that by definition it doesn’t make cognitive sense. You say and do things in a rage that look stupid and petty. Even you realize it once you’re far enough removed. So when you’re angry with someone or something, it’s easy to unload blind frustrations without really feeling anything but hate.
With disappointment, you understand what’s happening around you. All of the consequences of a disappointing act make complete sense. To truly feel something that deep, you have to understand what’s happening in your life on a larger scale. So the good news about Ray Allen-stab-me-in-my-back-with-the-original-Ginsu decision to go to the Miami Heat is that I’m angry, not disappointed.
If Ray had gone to the Grizzlies or the Suns, I would’ve been disappointed that the end of the big three came with Allen heading to a mediocre contender in another division. I would’ve looked at his move as the first of many that would make any Celtics fan just think for a while. Think about watching three of the most entertaining players on the planet put on a jersey that meant they were part of something bigger than themselves. I’d think about how they embraced it so openly, squeezing every drop out of the Boston tradition with a loving bear hug, but here’s the positive: I’m so purely enraged, so damn pissed, that there’s no time for nostalgia. No time to reflect about how much I respect Ray Allen as a person and a player. One day there will be. Not today!
The funny thing about yesterday’s announcement is that the last person you’d expect to betray the Celtics is Ray Allen. He’s a military child whose respect for routine and habit is well documented. He loved the city of Boston. I remember watching Ray’s sideline interview after he returned from injury, and I remember the look on his face when he said that Boston is where he belonged. It was one of those moments in a decision-making process where you’re filled with life and think you’re having an epiphany, but like a lot of those moments, he was wrong and the adrenaline of a fiercely loyal crowd isn’t enough to make a decision based on.
Ray Allen lived close to the Joslin Diabetes Center, where his son could get proper treatment. So when I read through the blogosphere and twitterverse and saw a reoccurring theme that Ray wasn’t betraying the Celtics and was making a “business decision,” I couldn’t believe it. Allen’s decision was the exact opposite, it was completely personal. He joined a bitter rival that’s faced the Celtics in the playoffs three years in a row, and for less money. What kind of business decision involves a pay cut? He wanted to get another ring, but he did it the cheap way. Returning to Celtics would’ve made their lineup drastically improved from last year, where they lost in seven close games to the Champs.
What was so personal about Ray’s decision was his jealousy. He couldn’t stand being benched for 21-year-old Avery Bradley, who most certainly deserved the spot, but it’s more than even that. It’s that he felt out of the loop. He didn’t get along with Rajon Rondo and rapidly became the least important member of the big three that he started. He couldn’t stand that a 26-year-old know-it-all talked down to him and made fun of him behind his back. He couldn’t stand that Rondo was as smart as him. He didn’t feel wanted in Boston. He did in Miami.
Pat Riley wined and dined Allen, feeding into the ego that was hurt in Boston. The conclusion here? Ray Allen made a selfish and disgusting decision based on sensitivity. Granted, some of its warranted, the Celtics tried to trade him three times and he knew it. He had a lesser role on the team and was forced to deal with a teammate he just didn’t like, but that’s not enough.
Rondo and Allen didn’t argue with each other all that often, there was just tension between the two. What person doesn’t have someone like that at his or her job? Get over it! As for the trades the Celtics tried to make, that is a business decision. They didn’t realize the big three still had life and tried to save the team’s future. I’m sure it’s not the first trade rumors Allen’s dealt with, and the Celtics no-trade clause they offered this free agency to Allen would mean no rumors for his contract.
The truth is, Ray didn’t want to be on the Celtics anymore. Things weren’t going completely perfectly, so he left. His decision to go Miami was just a slap in the face. He took the easy road to a championship instead of one that would be difficult, but was realistic. Nobody can convince me that his choice of Miami wasn’t influenced by a desire to stick it to the Celtics. He left a city he duped into believing him, and he did it for selfish reasons. Great weather for a scratch golfer just isn’t going to work if you’re arguing it’s a business decision. No, this was personal.
So for those who argue that Ray was justified in his actions after his team tried to trade him, you do not understand sports as a whole. His responsibility wasn’t to Danny Ainge and the management, it wasn’t to his teammates. It was to the city of Boston and the fans that would’ve defended Allen to the day they die. He owed the fans to retire as a Celtic, which the no trade clause would’ve guaranteed. Instead, he did the worst thing possible, he joined the enemy. For that, there’s no forgiveness. No silver lining. Just pure anger, and it’s better that way. Just ask Kevin Garnett.