Ray Allen Interview
Seattle Sonics shooting guard Ray Allen, a Western
conference All-Star, spoke with the media a few days before the 2004 NBA All-Star
game, which is taking place in Los Angeles.
Q: In an All-Star Game, do you go out to win or to have fun?
Ray Allen: We go out to have fun. I think everybody is trying to feel each other out at the beginning and the defense isnít ever present at the start of these games. By the fourth quarter the game grows a personality and everybody starts to play defense. Guys who had been scoring take over what is happening on the floor and things really start to get competitive.
Q: Are you surprised by the play of Michael Redd?
Ray Allen: No, I knew it was coming; I knew he had it in him. Thatís always how I judge talent in this league - how hard guys work and what kind of desire they have to get better - and Mike always wanted to get better and take his game to the next level. He was always better in practice than games because in practice he got the time. He was on the floor and we would go head-to-head. I compare it to a heavyweight boxing: The sparring partner is always the guy the champion is competing against three or four years down the line for the heavyweight championship. Mike was my sparring partner for a long time. He was on the injured list a bit his first year and then he was getting spot time the next year, and from there he just kept working and getting better.
Q: Is it more rewarding to be selected for the West All-Star team?
Ray Allen: Not really. I would have to say that at this point in my career, the Western Conference is much tougher to play in night-in and night-out, but the players are all talented throughout the league. I donít look at it like it is tougher here or more of an honor because it goes either way at times. One year, we had six two-guards on the team. So, when the Eastern Conference had to pick its seven reserves, six of them were two-guards.
Q: Are you surprised by the play of former teammate Sam Cassell?
Ray Allen: Not at all. If you take a lot of the guys from around the league and you try to mix and match them on different teams there are going to be scenarios that work for certain guys. You can say that moving to a new team has rejuvenated someoneís career but even though Samís career didnít need rejuvenating, because he has played so well in the past, he just got to a situation where heís got KG (Kevin Garnett) and Spree (Latrell Sprewell) to support him. Those guys are playing hard and the team is winning and he has really taken his game to a new level.
Q: Were you surprised to be named to this yearís All-Star Game considering you missed so much time due to injury?
Ray Allen: I thought I played well enough and based on the games I participated in, and compared to the rest of the league during those games, my numbers stack up against anybodyís. I think the coaches that selected me looked around the league and said, ďWho killed us this year consistently?