The long-simmering feud between Ray Allen and the other members of the 2008 Boston Celtics championship squad might be coming to an end.
Paul Pierce, the NBA Finals MVP for that team who signed a one-day contract with Boston earlier this summer to retire as a Celtic, posted a picture of himself and Allen together with the caption, “Time to get the band back together.”
The two future Hall of Famers were playing in the Super Penguin Basketball Celebrity Game held in Shanghai by Tencent, ESPN’s exclusive digital partner in China. Pierce added in his post, “No matter what happen we all formed a special bond that can never b broken” in addition to tagging fellow former Celtics teammates Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo.
Tencent reports that Allen and Pierce had a meeting and spoke about family, Hurricane Irma and other topics.
Tencent also had a sit-down interview with Allen, during which he talked about the rift, though he never mentioned Pierce or any of his other former teammates by name.
“There is so much that goes on behind the scenes with teams,” Allen said. “The players understand it, the organization understands it. But when I left, what you know is that everybody on one side is gonna say everything they need to say to make their side look like they did everything they could to make sure that they made it correct for me. But from my opinion, I see something totally different.”
Allen later added, “I haven’t said anything negative about these guys. It’s been five or six years since I’ve been gone. Seems like it was a year or two ago. When I left, I was a free agent. It’s disheartening when you hear negative things people say about you, because when you win, you love each other, the families are close all time. When you win together, you always share that bond. That, to me, it’s never changed.”
The relationship between Allen and his former teammates had been frosty ever since Allen left Boston to sign with the Miami Heat in 2012. Allen went on to win a title with the Heat, while Garnett and Pierce were traded to Brooklyn a year later, and Rondo was traded to Dallas in 2014.
On media day in 2012, Garnett said, “I don’t have Ray’s number anymore. I’m not trying to communicate with him.” During Allen’s first game with the Heat, he went over to the Celtics’ bench to acknowledge his former teammates and was ignored by Garnett. The relationship didn’t get much better as time went on, and when Garnett hosted a reunion of the 2008 Celtics on TNT earlier this year, Allen was noticeably absent.
“I was initially hurt by the whole way everything went down,” Pierce said during the segment, speaking about Allen’s departure from Boston in 2012. “Like, I don’t have no beef with none of my teammates. I was just hurt on how it went down. We all came together, we talked about it. We talked every day. We hung out all the time, and then, when it was time for free agency — and to each his own — but I thought we formed a brotherhood here in Boston. … That’s what I was hurt about when Ray didn’t at least give us a heads up about it.”