Twenty questions with the Miami Heat’s Ray Allen:
1) Last time basketball moved you to tears?
“Game 4 of the Finals against the Lakers. We were down 24, and we came back to win. It was a combination of joy and mental exhaustion. It took everything I had from me. I left everything on the court. I was so drained. And it hurt good and bad. It was a mixed feeling, not just joy, because of the level of fatigue. I was in a timeout, I saw our fans behind the bench as we iced the game in the last few seconds, and it felt worth it.”
2) Most consecutive threes you’ve hit in practice?
“Sixty or 70.”
3) The daily reminder that you are old?
“The first time you run up and down the court every day, the way the body feels at first. It is fine the second or third time. But that first time, back when I was 23, was a reverse windmill dunk. Now you are feeling your back and ankles.”
4) Something your wife understands about you that others don’t?
“That I’m quiet. She allows me to be quiet. She knows that I’ll come to her if something is on my mind because I tell her everything. She doesn’t internalize my quiet or make it personal. She knows I need that space. Bad practice, bad game, I need that quiet. She lets me have my moments, and knows I’ll come to her with the struggles I can’t handle on my own.”
5) Something about basketball that you appreciate now that you didn’t 15 years ago?
“Stretching. You can play this game 20 years if you take care of yourself. I stretch every day and up to 3 times a day now — 20 to 25 minutes each time.”
6) A philosophy to live by?
“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.”
7) The missed shot that haunts you the most?
“You know what? Not one. I honestly don’t look at it that way. There isn’t a shot that haunts me, not one. I look at it like this: It is the makes that make you.”
8) The example you’d give that best illustrates how extreme you are about preparation?
“The way I do things over and over, every situation. Pin-downs, flares, at the elbow, over and over, and over and over, practice again and again, shooting at 100percent fatigue, two seconds left, three seconds left, training my body and my breathing and my heart and my thinking to all be right at fatigue, for every situation.”
9) Do you object to people who say that your ability is God-given?
“I do. God doesn’t care whether I make a jump shot or not. He gave me an ability to work, not to shoot. And what I do is work. Every day, every day, I work. And if I had to shoot it underhanded, I’d work at being great at it that way.”
10) The thing you are proudest of on your basketball résumé?
“The respect of my peers. They probably won’t admit it, but guys come to me for tips on shooting, little things, all the time. I wish they’d do it even more than they do because, as my time fades, I can’t take this with me. I’d like to leave it behind as much as I can with others.”
11) Does anyone call you by your real name — Walter?
“My college friends do. And now Chris Bosh, for some reason.”
12) You admitted once that, even as a star, you were terrified before games — and that’s why you prepared the way you did. Why and how do you use fear?