Heat's Ray Allen says don't hate the player, hate the team

Ray Allen had a business decision to make this offseason. (Getty Images)

Ever since Ray Allen left the friendly confines of the Boston Celtics for the much-hated Miami Heat, he’s felt some backlash from the Celtics players and fans.

Paul Pierce took it in stride, saying that he was “a little bitter that he went to Miami, but he's still a brother of mine.” Kevin Garnett said he didn’t have Ray’s number anymore because of a personal choice he was making about the situation. And some of the fans have thrown around the word traitor for the future Hall of Fame shooting guard who spent five of his 16 seasons in the NBA on the Celtics.

Allen was asked on WMEN in Miami with host “Big O” (Orlando Alzugaray) how he’s dealing with the negativity from Boston because he chose to play in Miami (via SportsRadioInterviews.com):

“Well it was just really a shame because on one hand you could say so many great things about me as a player and my impact on the floor, and not only on the floor but off the floor, like we did so many great things in the community — not only as a team, but as individuals — and that was my community and I support it as much as I could. We had some foundation initiatives that we still continue to do, so that doesn’t change me.

It was a business decision and the team put me in the position where we had to move. We had to go. Miami was a better choice for us based on what the team was doing, so it wasn’t, don’t boo me, boo the team in a sense. Now it’s out of my control. … When this contract situation came down, everybody in my circle — mom, family, brother, sister, friends from college, people who watched me since I was in high school and since I was in college — nobody wanted me to resign in that situation because they thought, ‘There [is] so much left in you and this team isn’t taking care of you or treating you right.’ That’s the way I felt and it was like, if you are going to come and not put out a good contract on the table then, hey, we gotta think about going somewhere else.”

This is the tricky part of sports. There are the ideas of loyalty to a team, being too greedy for fame or money, and never playing for your anointed rivals. The problem with these ideas is nobody can really say what is real and what is just conjecture for the sporting world.

If Ray Allen didn’t feel respected by the contract situation with the Celtics, is he really supposed to remain loyal to a team he played for in just one-third of his career? Is there supposed to be such a thing as a discount when a veteran wants to re-sign with a retooling team?

If Ray Allen left for New York or the Lakers or the Clippers, would there be such a sense of resentment toward him among some fans? Or is there a certain hint of being mad that he’s signed with the team that stands in your way of getting back to the Finals?

Hopefully, Celtics fans realize the business of the entire situation and don’t hold it against him for wanting to play in Miami. And there’s nothing wrong with booing him when he’s playing for an opponent, but there’s a fine line between booing an opponent and hatefully booing a guy because he left your team to sign with your supposed rival.

CBS Sports Writer

Zach Harper likes basketball. Some would even say he loves it. He's also an enthusiast for everything Ricky Davis, Rasheed Wallace, Nic Cage, and has seen the movie Gigli almost three times. He's been... Full Bio

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