BOSTON (CBS) — The 2007-08 Celtics championship team remains one of the closest-knit teams to ever play in the city of Boston, a team that formed allegiances so strong that many members of the team still talk often in a group text.
Yet that group does not include Ray Allen, an invaluable member of that championship squad. And even though nearly a decade has passed since that team lifted the Larry O’Brien Trophy, the bad blood from Allen’s departure to the rival Miami Heat remains a sore spot for his former teammates in Boston.
Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated recently talked with Rajon Rondo, who was a second-year point guard on that title team. Rondo said the team is planning a vacation together to celebrate the anniversary, but nobody is too interested in inviting Allen.
“I asked a couple of the guys,” Rondo told Spears. “I got a no, a no head shake.”
Rondo later explained to Spears why the bitter feelings still exist:
“It will be a long story about that, but it is what it is. I don’t know a good analogy to put this in. It just wasn’t the greatest separation. It wasn’t the greatest thing that could’ve happened to us as a team, a bond. We were at war with those guys [Miami]. To go with the enemy, that’s unheard-of in sports. Well, it’s not so unheard of. It’s damn near common now.
“The mindset we had. The guys on our team. You wouldn’t do anything like that. It makes you question that series in the Finals … Who were you for? You didn’t bleed green. People think we had a messed-up relationship. It’s not the greatest. But it’s not just me. I called and reached out to a couple of other vets and asked them what they wanted to do with the situation. They told me to stick with what we got [without Allen].”
An unnamed member of the 2007-08 Celtics told Spears, “I mean, Ray left. He left to the enemy.”
Allen signed with the Miami Heat in the summer of 2012, shortly after the Celtics lost a hard-fought seven-game series against that very same team. The budding Celtics-Heat rivalry included a heated moment when Dwyane Wade pulled Rondo to the court, injuring Rondo’s elbow. Paul Pierce has stated on the record that Allen was a bit of a lone wolf on that title team. And it’s been no secret that the off-the-court relationship among the future Hall of Fame trio of Allen, Pierce and Kevin Garnett has never been as great as it may have seemed on the court.
Allen went on to win a second championship alongside LeBron James in Miami in 2013. But in the process, he ended some relationships that clearly remain broken to this day.