Two-time NBA champion, Hall of Famer, and fellow Olympic gold medalist, Ray Allen, joined Michael to reminisce about what it takes to play the long game in basketball, life, and the discipline required to be a champion.
“I believe that everything that I learned in my career, everything that sustained me for 18 seasons, it’s important to pass that along,”– Ray Allen
Allen is a 10-time NBA All-Star considered by many to be the greatest three-point shooter of all-time.
He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2018 and is also an accomplished actor, author, entrepreneur, and influencer.
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*Note: Ray Allen recorded this podcast outside, so there might be some background noise.
In this episode Michael and Ray talked about:
- Lessons Ray learned early on about the secrets to long-term success
- Why you need to show up every day, every moment to be a champion
- On finding good influences, choosing happiness, and betting on yourself
- Why you’ll never be as great as you think you are … without humility and hard work
- How adversity is the key to change and growth
- And life after basketball
Michael Redd: Thank you for jumping on this podcast with me, man. And for all the listeners out there, Ray is like my big brother, mentor. He was a major influence in my career and life. So, it's interesting watching The Last Dance last night. Kobe mentioned something about, "When you see me, you see Mike," type of thing. And I fall in that category a little bit with you with my career. So, you were one of the biggest reasons why I was able to accomplish what I was able to accomplish in my career.
Michael Redd: And so, that's how it should be. But I want to honor you today, man, and talk more about your life and your journey, which has been fascinating. And beyond being a husband and a father, and a two-time NBA championship winner in Basketball Hall of Famer, All-Star, all of that, movie star, author, now businessmen, wellness influencer, what led to you ultimately betting on yourself, Ray?
Ray Allen: Just I guess I came from the school of thought that as a kid when you're growing up, you're not standing in a line of success, where everybody's just sitting there waiting and their turn is going to come. That wasn't the case for any of us. There was no procedure. Constantly, as a young Black man in America, you're being told what you can't do, left and right, and you don't have to be young anymore. You're just being told where you can't be, where you shouldn't be and what you can't do.
Ray Allen: And when you hear that enough, you have to ask yourself or say to yourself, "I got to do what is going to be necessary for my future." And I think the first couple of things that you learn is how to diminish all of the distractions around you that prevent you from achieving any type of success, and it's the immediate gratification. If you think about kids, we want things fast. We want them immediate, and we don't know about delayed satisfaction.
Ray Allen: We don't know about long-term success and delayed investment, or receiving that wealth down the line. That's when you put work in, you start to learn that it benefits you down the line. And so, I always bet on myself, because I knew that if I pushed myself and I was always prepared, then I was going to be the one that was going to be ready when the time came.
Michael Redd: Yeah. I saw that all too often every day, the drive you had, man. I want to say this, man, real quick. As you were sharing that, where did you get that vision for your future when you were a kid?
Ray Allen: As a young person, I grew up in the military. And my dad was, for all the things that he was and all the things that he wasn't, I was able to look at both aspects of the equation and use both of them as positives. I didn't always have tennis shoes. I didn't always have food to eat in some instances. So, I just said to myself, "In order for me to be successful, I can't make an excuse about it. I just have to figure out how to adjust, how to adapt."
Ray Allen: I did realize then that nobody really cared. So, for me to sit back and feel sorry for myself and say, "Why it was me," I said, "I'm going to make everybody regret." Not either helping me or any girl that didn't want to date me and looked at me like I was just some ugly dude, they're going to wish that they took a chance on me. And so, as a young kid, that was well within my power. And so, I didn't need anybody to be in my corner or to be on my team.
Ray Allen: I was going to make them wish that they had made that decision long-term. And that was me always playing the long game, trying to figure out down the line how I was going to be able to have the things that I wanted for my life. And I didn't really care about the tennis shoes right then and having the money right then, because it doesn't do anything for you. I was thinking about living a good life and raising a family, and having a nice home, and be able to drive a car where I didn't have to worry about money in my pocket.
Ray Allen: All those things when you think about down the line, you shelve that immediate desire, because in front of us every single day, we have these urges and these wants. They're not a need, it's just a want, like I want new tennis shoes. I want a new car, and I want all of these things. But everything that we have is enough for us to exist in a space that we're already in. And where I got it from as a kid, I have no idea. Because I just was able to see through the spectrum of life and understand the bigger picture at all times.
Ray Allen: Kids come up to me, hit me on social media and always asks, like they're looking for help, "Can you do this for me? Can you point me in the right direction? And I need to know this person and be introduced to this. And if you help me with this..." And for the few times that I have conversations and I engage, and I talk to young people, I say, "Nobody helped me, but everybody helped me. Nobody gave me anything."
Ray Allen: Too often, young people are asking for things that they don't deserve and are looking for someone to give them something. And I'll give you a greatest example. I asked a kid one time. He came up to me and he said, "Can you give me an autograph?" And I said, "Sure. But first, what are you going to give me?" And he's like, "Huh?" I said, "I'm going to give you an autograph. What are you going to give me?" And he goes, "Nothing."
Ray Allen: I said, "How is that fair? You're not going to give me anything, but I'm going to give you something." And he was like, "Never mind." And I was like, "You give up that easy? You want me to do something for you, but you don't want to do anything for me?" How is that mutually acceptable? How is that mutual interaction between two individuals? And so, he didn't want my autograph anymore because I guess I made him mad.
Ray Allen: And it was an indictment on how young people are today, because he doesn't see that I'm giving him something. Or, "Can I take a picture with you?" Take you want to take. Give and take. So, when you're talking to young people and you say, "You want to take something from me? Now, okay. Well, let me take something from you." There's an argument. There's always like, "No, I'm not giving you anything." And I think far too often, we see people in public.
Ray Allen: We see celebrities and we want something from them, and we want something for ourselves. And we don't realize that we don't need it. What you need the most is to figure out how that person became to be who they are and why you respect him so much, and you need to take something away from them as far as a learning tool so you can grow and have that similar type of existence so you can be successful.
Michael Redd: And these are some of the lessons that I learned being around you, my rookie year. I remember my rookie year having these talks with you. And I was blown away on how deep of a thinker you were. And it was interesting to me that I got shoes from you and I was able to spend a night with you all the time at the house, you and Shannon, but it was always like lessons to be learned. It was great, and I just absorbed it, man.
Michael Redd: And I appreciate all the lessons that you were sharing with me, man, over the years that we were together. So, this sounds totally familiar, what you're saying, it makes sense. Tell me about, man, real quick, if you can think back to a pivotal moment where you took a chance. You think about UConn. You think about even the moment to decide to leave Boston to go to Miami, or is there other pivotal moments that you took a chance for yourself?
Ray Allen: Well, just to bounce off of what you just said about you and I early in your career, I mean, early in both of our careers, you took the example because I was already a person who was somewhat established in league, and you learned from it. You didn't ask me to give you anything. You just wanted those same successes for yourself. You were a second-round pick. You came in, you didn't know how to play the game. You didn't know how the routine worked.
Ray Allen: You went to the best player on the team to figure out what it is that you needed to do. And greatest thing is I was open and accepting, because I can tell. I knew you have such a good heart and a good soul. You come from a good family, and you wanted to be successful. And so, when we met somewhere in a gym, come by the house, you always had the greatest of intention to get better, and that's the best environment.
Ray Allen: That's what makes teams successful, whether you're playing basketball or whether you're at home. People have to want to be present and you have to want to show up for each other. And you have to commend yourself because you showed up every single day, every single moment, because you did want the successes that went along with being a great athlete.
Ray Allen: You showed up, I helped, but you had to take those steps. As I always say, that it takes the commitment of each other. And at times, you do it by yourself. But then, at times, you have help. Then, you got to know that you got to do it by yourself, but you can't do it by yourself, if that makes any sense.
Michael Redd: No, it totally does.
Ray Allen: Yeah. So, there were times, I think the toughest decisions I've had to make in my life, were the decisions that weren't so simple, so cut and dry. It's easy to say, "I'm not hanging out with that person because that person is a bad person," or "I'm not getting in the car with that person because they've been drinking." Because you know that the consequences on the other end could be damaging. They could be life-threatening. In the situations that the times where I've had to make difficult decision is when I left college, my junior year.
Ray Allen: I don't know how it would have affected me if I stayed. But I was in a win-win situation, because still, I was going to get to play ball in college or I was going to go to the NBA. I don't know how it would affect me going forward. So, when you're a young person trying to make a decision like that, it's the hardest thing in the world to do because you almost want someone to tell you, "Tell me what to do." And even in choosing what college I was going to is just as difficult decision. But I was fortunate in both of those situations to listen to the people around me.
Ray Allen: And I had people around me that didn't try to grandstand the moment. My economics teacher in high school, he said, "Listen, I would never tell you where to go to college." Because I asked him, I said, "Where do you think I should go?" And he goes, "I'd never tell you where to go, because I'm not going to be the one in the dorm room. I'm not going to be the one that's going to be sitting there miserable next year playing for a coach that you can't stand with or with the teammates that you don't know or don't like."
Ray Allen: So, he helped me fill out a pros and cons list. And then, he said, "Ultimately, you have to be happy with this decision. This decision has to be yours." And so, that was fortunate that I didn't have selfish individuals around me at the time that would allow me to think for myself. And I was always a free thinker. And then, the same situation when I got to college and I was deciding to go pro, I had an anthropology teacher who asked me. He told me that, "The university is going to be around forever.
Ray Allen: It's going to outlast me, and that I can always come back. But what's being offered to me may not always last forever." So, the similar advice in different situations. I think the most important thing when you're going through things, when you have to make a decision, you have to bet on yourself, you have to figure out what's best for you going forward, it's okay to ask for people's opinion and what they think. But you have to be the ultimate decision maker. And you have to think about your future.
Ray Allen: And if this is something that you can feel comfortable with going down the line and isn't going to make you happy. When I made the decision to... I left Boston, that was ultimately about happiness. Because it's like, "Where do you go? Do you move forward?" It's like, again, you got to bet on yourself, because you have to say, "Am I going to be happy moving on?" And as it was, at the time, I wasn't happy in the scenario that I was in. And so, you have to choose your happiness, even when it's at the demise of someone else.
Ray Allen: Because your presence, by you deciding to leave, it's like going to college. When you go to college, somebody is going to hurt by you leaving them. And those people are going to tell you, "Don't go there, because if you go there, they're going to make every excuse in the book." But basically, you're leaving their life so they don't want you to go. So, you have to think of people who have nothing to gain for decisions that you'd make that will help you make the best decision for who you are.
Michael Redd: Man, let me ask you a question, Ray, along those lines. You mentioned some of the teachers at high school. I know Michael Jordan had an incredible influence on your life, obviously beyond the Jordan Brand and spending time with Mike over the years. Can you name an individual or a few people that helped you the way you helped me in my career?
Ray Allen: Yeah, of course. So, as you came in, one of the things that I want everybody to think about when you look at... because the most important decision when you go to college, don't pick a college that is easy, where the coach doesn't hold you accountable. When you leave college, you should not go back to where you just came from. Like our hometowns, you should be moving on somewhere else, traveling the world, seeing different things, planning it differently, whatever it may be.
Ray Allen: Going home shouldn't be an option. Obviously, unless you live in a major city and you have a big-time job, and you're doing some incredible things. But to go back home, it's like you've been given an opportunity to learn from some of the best and to get an education that should take you to a whole another level. So, being in college, your coach should be pushing you to no limit. So, to make that decision while you're in college, you end up with a group of guys that's going to make you or break you.
Ray Allen: You got guys around you that push you to be your best, guys that compete. There's going to be guys that want to party on campus. So, being in college, but you got to have that same amount of focus to be successful and to compete. And then, going into the NBA, the hardest thing in the world for most players is, if you get drafted to a team of unprofessional individuals, how do you weed your way through that to then find yourself ultimately being successful in a situation where everybody has a mind like you?
Ray Allen: So, when you get drafted into Milwaukee, you got to think about what a blessing that is. Because when you get drafted into a city, the temptation isn't overly high. We're indoors most of the time. And then, you got veteran players that keep you in check for most of the time, like this is just not your team. You have people that you could see and understand routine from, a discipline from. So, that was me. When I got into NBA, my first team was... there was a bunch of veteran players, and we weren't winning.
Ray Allen: And there was no real cohesiveness. But then, as a team started getting better, I had guys like Elliot Perry and Mike Curry who helped me establish my routine and my success. Both guys have played in the CBA at the time, coming into NBA. So, whenever we get into a hotel, and this was something that stuck with me my whole career. Our trainer would always put fruit in the room, so it'd be like orange, apples, some bananas, and some grapes.
Ray Allen: And that was just what the team would do, and I just used to listen to them. And they'd just always say, "Man, don't touch that minibar. You're going to come downstairs and check out the minibar is going to be $25 on your bill for that minibar." And I'm like, "These guys are so cheap." They make all this money and they're afraid of the minibar. And at the time, I was thinking to myself I'd never say it, but I was like, "They're right. I don't want no bills on my credit card statement."
Ray Allen: So, if I wanted any snack, then it was that fruit that was sitting there on the table that the teams have put in there for us to eat. So, it's things like that that I allowed to influence me. You learn those lessons and they become a part of who you are. As opposed to some guys come on team where guys spend money. It's hard to get drafted into Miami. It's hard to get drafted to LA. In cities where the weather's warm, you're always out, people driving nice cars, you feel like you have to have that, or that's the environment that you are being brought into.
Ray Allen: So, you have to keep up with those Joneses. And as a young player come to any league, you're not making a lot of money. So, you tend to spend more money, and then before you know it, you're living check to check because you're renting an apartment but you drive a Bentley. Because you see these other guys drive Bentleys and you go out with them, and you need to make sure that you keep up with them because you're NBA player.
Ray Allen: You have to have what these other guys have, or else, people are going to think less of you. And so, that type of pressure can affect young people being in a league and then forever. And then before it you know it, you don't have any money in the bank. And this is how a lot of us ultimately go broke. And so, you got to find the good influences in your life so you can do the right things. You don't want to make decisions going forward based on money.
Ray Allen: And if that's the case, then you have not done such a great job of handling what the professional life that basketball brings to you.
Michael Redd: And you were certainly that for me in so many ways. I mean, even to where I lived, you and Ervin Johnson, like you're not living downtown. You're living out here with us in Mequon. Again, half of my rookie year, I stayed with you and Shannon, pretty much just about every night. And as a rookie, things are going so fast. I've been left my clothes in one city. I don't know if you remember that, I left my clothes.
Ray Allen: Yeah, I remember. Mike used to leave everything behind, you all.
Michael Redd: My wallet-
Ray Allen: Yeah. He left his wallet on the plane one time, but we grabbed it. We saw and grabbed it. He's like, "Wait, watch [inaudible 00:19:15]." And it was just fun because we always had you. We're always going to take care of you, look after you. And in those days, those are some of the best teams I played on, because we respected each other, and everybody came in and did their job. I don't think on those teams we played on, there was no real hierarchy.
Ray Allen: When you thought that I was this guy that was untouchable, that I had to be the one that had the last voice. Everybody is saying, "This is my team." It kills me when people talk about whose team a team is. I was like, "Last I checked, there's 12 guys on a team and everybody has one thought to ownership. And everybody has different roles, and they have to fulfill those roles in order for this team to be successful."
Ray Allen: And I think Milwaukee, when we were successful, those teams embodied that idea, that concept, because everybody had a job to do. Okay, so I scored 20-some points a game, that didn't make me feel any better or any higher on the scale than any other player on our team, because I know I needed Scott Williams to grab 10 rebounds a game. And that was an equally as important role for our success.
Ray Allen: And I think individuals on a team forget that, because ultimately, the points are what attract people and what would get your attention. But look at Dennis Rodman. Every rebound he got, people cheered. He made that a talent and something to be celebrated by. So, if you're a great rebounder in a league, you'll make millions of dollars.
Ray Allen: I always use the Pistons as a great example because of the roles that each one of those guys played in 2004 when they won a championship like Ben Wallace. He got a max contract and he barely made a layup. But he was a great defender, a great shot blocker. He wasn't tall, he worked hard. And he was their first team, by any means necessary, and I think we forget that. And I think more so than the players too, the coaches sometimes forget it too, because it's like explaining people their roles.
Ray Allen: So, I want you to go do your role 100%. Now, you might have 10% of the role of this team, but I need you to do that 10%, 100% every night.
Michael Redd: 100%, 100%. I learned that from you all in that 2000 team. We had a lot of fun. In fact, for all the listeners out there, Ray is my big brother, I love him. But he did pour hot sauce down my mouth while I was sleeping on the plane.
Ray Allen: Yeah, yeah.
Michael Redd: You were a practical joker too, man.
Ray Allen: And it's interesting that you say that because I have always been a practical joker and harmless fun. We try to keep things going, and the season is too long not to have fun. And what I've learned over my career is just some guys take it so personal that you end up not being able to have this type of fun with everybody because you're arguing and carrying on. It's like, "Okay, well, certain people just they aren't for the fun. And they don't want anybody to touch them, and don't touch my clothes and this."
Ray Allen: So, it's like as you get older, you realize that sometimes the fun just goes away from the locker room environment, which is sad. But you have to always remember what and why you started playing this game, because it's just a game that we enjoy playing, and it was fun.
Michael Redd: Absolutely. I was at all when I got drafted of you, and particularly, you had just done the movie, He Got Game, and your star was rising in the league. And I was in awe when I met you. And I was like, "This guy is really humble. He's really down to earth and really cool." And you made me a better player. And hopefully, every day, I help you make become a better player in practice. And our practices were brutal and it was a tense.
Michael Redd: And the one thing I didn't realize about you was how regimented you were. I would spend a night at your house and meet you and Shannon, would hang out a night before. But you're up at 6:00, 6:30, getting ready to start your morning. And you will wake me up, and I'm like, "Why are we up so early?" And there was so many lessons that I learned in that of getting up early and get your routine started.
Michael Redd: And Shannon would have food ready, breakfast ready at 7:00, 7:30. And let me ask you a question. Where did that routine come from or being so regimented? Was that from having been in a military family?
Ray Allen: Well, that's certainly a routine that come from the military, because everything has to be spick and span, how you clean your house, how you dress. Your boots have to be waxed. My dad is going to work and his fatigues have to be ironed. And there has to be a crease in it. So, you start to see that as a kid how everything has to be informed and systematic. And that is part of why I chose going to Connecticut, because that's how Jim Calhoun was. He was very general-like.
Ray Allen: And we had to get up every morning. We had to have breakfast. And that was just a part of who we are, who we had to be. If you miss breakfast, there was a penalty that you had to incur, running of some sort. And so, it's interesting, because as a player, everybody wants discipline. Everybody needs discipline, because everybody wants to get better. Everybody wants to learn. Kids cannot forget that you're not ever going to be as great as you might think you are.
Ray Allen: And you got to always take that humility to be open and accepting in what people tell you. And when they tell you something, don't take it personal. Because if you told them you want to be great, well, that's the whole point of what they're trying to do, is help you be great. It can't be you saying, "I'm only going to listen to certain things and I don't want to pay attention to this player. That person is like..." Take it all in. As a basketball player, you cannot show up 30 minutes before practice.
Ray Allen: As an athlete, you cannot show up 30 minutes for practice. We really heavily rely on our physical ability to succeed. Ultimately, that's what's going to allow us to make money the way we need to make money and be the best athletes we can be. So, getting up and being on time, like eating right, putting the right foods in your body, you have to be well nourished. If you ever watched Formula 1 Racing, they pit and they put gas in the car, and they change their tires constantly.
Ray Allen: So, you're talking about these high-octane machines that you expect to get the best out of them. And then, when they overheat, they crap out. Bodies do the same thing. So, your ability to be successful, it starts with how you sleep. And then, it boils over to after you sleep, when you wake up, because you're sleeping and you're repairing. And then, when you wake up, you're eating, which you need to eat to nourish your body from when it had to repair itself while you were sleeping to getting it ready for that day.
Ray Allen: So, all of these people that don't eat in the morning, especially athletes, are doing themselves a huge disservice when it comes to them getting stronger, becoming a better athlete all around, and then being able to compete in an arena where you're talking about two, three hours of competition. And ultimately, if you don't have the right amount of brains, food on board, at the end of the game, you make mistakes. You have low blood sugars.
Ray Allen: Your heart starts to race. And now suddenly, your brain can't think, and you make bad choices. And it cost your team games. It's all connected.
Michael Redd: That's always been a passion of yours, wellness and fitness, from the time I've met you. I didn't know what work ethic was until I met you. And we would shoot out to practice, and you would demand that I get there as a rookie, hour and a half, two hours before practice. I wasn't even a shooter when I got to the NBA, and I fooled people in my career because people know me as a shooter. I'm like, "I was really good score. And I learned how to shoot with Ray and Sam, and Glenn every single day," and particularly with you every day after practice.
Michael Redd: But you've always been passionate about your wellness and fitness. And I think that has followed you even to now, right, after post career?
Ray Allen: Yeah. Well, it's important. I hate to see retired athletes look like they ate their former self. Yeah. There's so many examples. And you'll consistently hear them say, "Man, I ain't picking up the ball no more," like [crosstalk 00:28:45]. And I'm like, "Do you think the team cares that you don't work out anymore? You're not hurting them anymore. You're retired. You're only hurting yourself."
Michael Redd: That's right.
Ray Allen: Our bodies have done so much of the heavy lifting. Nobody is telling you to deadlift 1,000 pounds and run 20 miles, and do suicides. Nobody is asking you to do that. You don't have to do that. What your body requires of you is to maintain a level of conditioning, being true to your body, because you can't then stop everything you're doing, because your heart requires some movement, some conditioning. So, getting out there walking, riding on the bike, creating all these habits, how do you go through an NBA career if you played anything over five, six years?
Ray Allen: How do you go through that career? I mean, you've played in college multiple years. How do you go through it? You've had multiple trainers and you've done lifting and all of these skills and drills every day. How do you just drop that? I know it's tiresome and you're ready to give it up, but how do you just not stay true to yourself and stay committed? That to me is always astounding to know a guy would just give up on their selves just because you think you're screwing the team or because the whole time, you're only doing it for the team.
Ray Allen: So, yeah. I wasn't lifting and eating right for the team, I was doing it for myself. Because I knew that I needed my body to perform at the highest level, and I didn't want to give up on myself. So now, it's the same thing. I want to be able to sit on the couch and feel strong. I want to be able to go for bike rides and connect, and be physical. I worked out with my oldest son yesterday, and he was working on donkey.
Ray Allen: He's not there yet, but he was working and trying to get there. But I was showing him, and I'm able to show him how to donk. I could be the example for him because I've taken care of my body, so I can now do these things with him. And we work out every day at 3:00 and I go through drills with him. And I show him exactly what I'm trying to get them to do, and I want to see if they can do it. So, those opportunities where kids, even with you, Mike, you're like my younger brother.
Ray Allen: I was able to do everything as much as you think I helped you, you helped me. Because when I'm in the gym, automatically, I have another rebounder when you're there. Automatically, I have someone to push me that is just as quick and is learning the game, and you could bounce ideas off of. And then, we talk about certain things, and there's nothing like having a partner when you walk into the gym.
Ray Allen: When you throw the ball up there, you can always go one-on-one. So, sometimes, it's easy to go through drills. And once you do a drill, then the next person goes and gives you a little break, because basketball, it's not a non-stop sport. We have so many stoppages. So, going from timeout to huddles, to fouls, to free throws, just someone's breaking action. So, it does help you when you have other people working out and you don't want to go non-stop all the time when you're working on a drill.
Ray Allen: So, as much as you think that you were helped by me, you inject that youth and that energy into me. And obviously, you put some fire in my butt that I got to keep moving myself and saying... and ultimately, the beautiful thing is, is once I left, now, it's your show. Now, you become the guy. And now, you have to take everything that you've learned through me, and then pass it on to the people that you've had when you play.
Michael Redd: Well, I wasn't too happy about it. And one of the most devastating things to happen to me in my career beyond my injuries was seeing you trade it, man. And it was like, "What in the world?" And I'm not seeing it as an opportunity for me at all. I'm like, "Man, I finally get a chance to play and I'm making threes, and raise making threes, why can't we just play together?" type of thing. And I was content just in my role.
Michael Redd: And I remember, I was in a hotel in Seattle after it happened. And me and you are hurt. I know you're hurting, and I'm like, "Man, what..." my mentor, my big bro, "what the heck am I going to do?" And so, tell me and tell the listeners about the type of mindset you have to have to find success in the face of adversity.
Ray Allen: Well, in that case, I get traded, and I was fine with it. Because, well, at the time, there was so much animosity in our locker room.
Michael Redd: Yeah. Sure.
Ray Allen: And unbeknownst to either your eyes, like some people just want more. Everybody's positioning, trying to figure out a way to step on the next person. And I didn't really want any part of that. Now, being who I am now, I would have been a lot stronger to handle it. At the time, me going to Seattle, it ultimately ended up being the best thing for me. I used to always say, because at the time, Tim Thomas was the one that would be reported as trade bait.
Ray Allen: It ended up being me. And they would ask me how I thought Timmy should handle it. And I was like, "Hey, you're not being traded to a penitentiary. That's the beautiful thing. We still get to play basketball." And it was very eye-opening when it ended up being me. I was like, "Wow. So, they traded me. And now, I got to up and change." And that change for us is good, because it forces you to have to rethink how you've done things. I'm moving to a new city.
Ray Allen: I had to buy a new house. I have to move my family. So, I've learned that when you get comfortable, that's when you get caught slipping. So, the adversity that hits us, it's in everybody's life every single day. You find me a person who has no adversity and I'll find you a person that's dead. It's important that we all see it as it is, like we all have issues and problems. But how we get through them is just by... I congratulate person when they make a decision.
Ray Allen: You make this decision and you move forward, you'd be strong, and you become who your family, your significant other or the world needs for you, the world has just become a better place, because you made a solid decision. And now, we can move forward from that. And then, it may be a bad decision, it may be a good decision. But whatever, you made a decision. And now, we can see how that's going to affect all of us.
Ray Allen: But the quicker you make a decision, the quicker we can find out what we need to do to move forward to respond off of your decision. And that's the thing about life, like we don't always know. We don't always know if something's going to work out in our favor, but we have to just step out there and have faith that we had all the tools necessary to help us move forward and to make the right decision. We thought that we need to make four at the time.
Ray Allen: I guarantee you, every decision that everybody's ever faced in the history of their life, if you've taken what we have today and with those same decisions that we've faced years ago, weeks or months ago, we would make a different decision. Think about how social media has affected how we live our lives now. Ten years ago, 15 years ago, we would make different decisions in our lives, in our careers, playing basketball. We'd make different decisions, because the world was different back then.
Ray Allen: And so, we only had certain amount of information then. And so, you made it from a point of not really understanding everything completely. That's why we gather everything that we can gather and then make the decisions, but we're all going to be in adversity. The key is, you got to understand where you are. Are you in a storm, coming out of a storm, or about to go on the storm? And once you understand those three facets of existence, then you can at least figure out what you need to do.
Ray Allen: If a hurricane is about to hit you, you know that you got to take your windows up and bring your lawn furniture and all this stuff in the house. But if you don't know, then you can potentially put you or your family, their lives in danger. So, just understanding where you are in life and not denying it. You can't deny this is not being political, but you can't deny coronavirus. And I think for a good segment of a few weeks, our government denied the coronavirus.
Ray Allen: This was a storm about to hit us, we denied it, and then a lot of people got whacked by the storm. And we lost lives that didn't necessarily have to be lost. It's important that we know what we're dealing with and we know whether we're in that storm, coming out of it, or about to go into it, so we can make the necessary adjustments and be very cautious.
Michael Redd: We talked about diversity. Let's talk about success and what success means to you. You once said, "A successful man is built off of 1,000 failures." Explain that, man.
Ray Allen: So, if you talked to any actor or actress, they've been told, no, hundreds of times before they got a yes. But if every time they were told, no, they didn't go back and use that as motivation or constructive criticism, then they would have never got to that, yes. You just have to look at it as information gathered, "Okay, they don't like what I just presented there, but I'm going to figure out how to reconstruct and give them something that they do like and they do appreciate."
Ray Allen: The majority of the population, any athlete, you think about every number one pick in every sport. In the NFL, I don't know, I think there's six rounds. So, whoever got picked last in the sixth round was basically told, no, hundreds of times. Teams didn't want him, until that last pick. So, you have to now take that one opportunity that was given to you and prove everybody wrong. All those noes, people didn't think that you're good enough.
Ray Allen: People didn't want to live up to... They didn't want to be in the business of you. So, the only way that I can sit back and appreciate my successes when you think about winning the championship, like most people cry at award shows and on stages, hoists and trophies, because they remember the times when people said they weren't good enough. They remembered the time that people told them they'd never amount to anything, and when they struggled and they thought about giving up but they didn't.
Ray Allen: The successful people in life are the ones that we all read about, talk about, see on TV, that never gave up. They just kept running.
Michael Redd: Wow. Wow. Is that a mindset that you've tried to give to your children? And you mentioned your kids earlier, tell me about that, that ability to give that to your kids, that mindset.
Ray Allen: So, each one of my boys, they have their own struggles, because they're based on their ages. It's just typical. You can see how as they get older, they start to have a little bit more evolved mindsets. But trying to teach them through competition, how to continue to fight, and if you do not succeed, don't sit on the side and cry. When we fold up our chairs and we go inside when we finished our workout, like how many of you stay afterwards and work on the things that you needed work on?
Ray Allen: As opposed to sitting there and being upset that you didn't win, you have every opportunity to get better, so the next time, you're sitting there with a smile on your face, because you just won. That's what adversity teaches you. That's what fourth quarter scenario teaches, because we've lost enough in the fourth quarter that we're going to get this right. We're going to figure this out down the stretch, and that's what I always try to impart on to them, is that you have every opportunity to get it right.
Ray Allen: But you just have to do the extra work when everybody else is not working.
Michael Redd: Wow. Tell me a little bit about post-career. I know you and Shannon have been active as entrepreneurs. There's a number of ventures that you're involved in. You became an author in 2018. Tell me about life after basketball and how that looks for you.
Ray Allen: I've been fortunate to be able to not have to work a job after being retired. I know over the history of the last 50, 60 years, there's so many pioneers that have paved the way for us to be able to make the money that we've made where we can reinvest and we could spend time with our families. We don't have to feel the need to get up and go to a job every single day. Health and wealth has always been a cornerstone to how I existed.
Ray Allen: And Shannon and I started organic fast food restaurant. And we want to bring clean eating to people all over the world. We want to help people from themselves, from eating poorly, and putting themselves in predicaments where healthy should be available to everybody. It shouldn't be socioeconomic. You shouldn't have the opportunity to eat better based on where you live. You should just have healthy food always in front of you.
Ray Allen: And I think that's the thing that I was able to do because I was able to afford it. But not everybody is, so why should I be healthier because I can afford it? Every person should be able to eat well and eat clean. Being able to travel the world and bring basketball to every corner of the world, I've been able to do that over the last five, six years. Truly been an ambassador for Brand, Jordan for the NBA, has been incredible, because you see firsthand the impact that I've had on the game of basketball and young people around the world.
Ray Allen: So, that has been fun. You just don't understand how many people that you've affected playing basketball around the world. And that is, it brings me great joy to be able to travel, and you see people, and they're amazed that they're sitting in front of you because they're such a huge fan of you.
Michael Redd: Wow. It's amazing the reach and the stretch that the platform of the NBA has given us globally. And obviously, with Brand, Jordan, you're right. You can see it everywhere we travel, man, it's amazing. Still amazing and in awe of how many people recognize us around the world through basketball. Let us know, man. What's next for you right now? What's on the horizon? I know you always are looking for the next challenge, the next mountain to climb. What's next for you?
Ray Allen: Well, before the coronavirus, I had a few trips that I was going to be around the world. I had a few masterclasses. I was going to be in Australia for a week teaching some of my philosophies and helping young people play the game of basketball and understand it. In three weeks, I was supposed to be in Israel, doing the same thing, taking a cultural trip and teaching the ideas of basketball. So, I just love to be able to travel the world, to places that I've never would have the opportunity to go to and just learn about the world.
Ray Allen: The greatest thing about being on this earth, is when you travel, you start to realize, like you get to sample so many different foods you wouldn't have had otherwise. And then, more importantly, you realize how many people around the world, we're all different. We speak in different language. But ultimately, we're all trying to accomplish the same goals. You're trying to find someone to love and to love someone, and to raise a family.
Ray Allen: And then, to earn a living. That is not lost on anybody. Those ideas are in everybody's existence all around the world. And so, if you understand that, then the animosity and the wall building ideas of keeping people out, you start to go away, because you want to collaborate with people. You want to grow your borders and your ideas, and collaborate more with people than you want to keep people out.
Ray Allen: And I think that has probably been my greatest mission more than anything, is to be a great collaborator of all people, things and ideas, so you can bring people together and understand bridge and gaps. Anytime I go to China, bring in China to the people in my circle around here, they realize like China, it actually seemed like a cool place. I was like, "Yes, it's really cool." And you get to understand, and I know I have friends over there.
Ray Allen: And then, you start to realize it's no different from any other place. When you walk through any city in China, you might as well be, "Yeah, it'll be different in these ways, but these people aren't doing anything different than what we're doing over here."
Michael Redd: Me and you have been able to share a lot of things together. We both want to go metal and experience some incredible highs in our career. The one thing that we share is our really ability to engage Israel. You went to Poland a few years ago. I went to Poland a couple years ago. We both I think visited Auschwitz and to learn the history of the Jewish people. Then, you called me a couple months ago while I was in Israel, actually. And so, I just got back in February.
Michael Redd: So, real quick, man, just tell about that connection to Israel.
Ray Allen: When I was in college, I played with Doron Sheffer. He is an icon in Tel Aviv. And so, for a majority of my NBA career, everywhere I went, in every city, a Jewish person would come up to me and say, "I'm a huge fan of yours. I watched you growing up. You're the only team that we watched in college." So, our UConn games were on TV and Tel Aviv because Doron played with us. And so, it gave me an instant connection to all of these people.
Ray Allen: We had two other players that play the Yukon. So, we had a connection to bring the players over to UConn. So, it made UConn a very well-known team to the people in Israel. And so, I've always had great love come from the Jewish people. And as far as us going to Poland, we went just this past Thanksgiving. I took my whole family and a bunch of other young people. And it's just important to teach young people again about the history of our world, the atrocities that have taken place, so we could move forward and not repeat the horrors of our past, which is unsettling.
Ray Allen: But it seems like we continue to hit in those same directions.
Michael Redd: Yeah, yeah. No, that's powerful, man. I'll end with this when it comes to legacy. You quoted a couple of years ago in The Players' Tribune that, "Most people will never really get to know the real you, but they will know your work." How do you want to be remembered? Or what do you want your legacy to be?
Ray Allen: Actually, my legacy is going to be what other people decided to be. I know me personally, that I want to put all of the good stuff I can out into the airways. How do you make the world a better place? How do you make people feel better about themselves as they come in contact with you? That to me is all I can control, the ability for someone to interact with me. And it's almost like touching someone and they feel magic that allows them to go out in the world and do the things that they need to do.
Ray Allen: Because they've been inspired by a word for me, by an action, by some type of motivation. That right there in itself changes the world. And so, I think to think about what you want your legacy to be would be somewhat of an egotistical standpoint, because it's not up to us. It's up to us because we can push the good stuff out there, but our legacies will be determined by the people around us, regardless of what we think we wanted to be or what we think it should be.
Ray Allen: Somebody else is going to dictate that based off of what you saw or what you've showed.
Michael Redd: That's outstanding. And that's how you've been since I've known you. You've almost made history without knowing you're making history. And it's been fun to watch, man, and it's been a joy in my life to know you, man. And thank you for the day, brother, spending a time with me on this.
Ray Allen: You're so welcome, Mike. I'm honored and privileged to be here with you today and to be able to share my thoughts, and to call you a brother of mine. We share space and time, and we continue to spend time together, and share these ideas and these concepts of philosophies, and continue to put this stuff out to the world so people can get better. This is ultimately I think the goal of the human race is to find a way to uplift and inspire everybody.
Michael Redd: Absolutely, brother. We are grateful, man. In fact, everybody, Ray was the first person to bring me on to the golf course. I never played golf in my life. And I went out there with some Timms and a long white T-shirt, and some jeans. No off etiquette at all.
Ray Allen: But then, you've learned. So, that's the beautiful thing about life. You were on the right people to talk to you.
Michael Redd: Yes, yes. Eternally grateful, my brother. Love you much, man. Thank you, brother.
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