BOSTON - For 2,560 three-pointers, Ray Allen was a basketball player. He celebrated the baskets in fist pumps, high fives, and elevated shoulder bumps with his teammates.
But after knocking down his record-breaking 2,561st long-range shot, he was a human being. He celebrated in handshakes, hugs, and long embraces with family members.
Allen has spent the past 15 years making three-point shooting look effortless. His quick release looks automatic and his smooth follow-through seems like second nature.
There is little time for thinking about each basket in the flow of the game. Catch and shoot . . . then move on.
On Thursday night in front of a home crowd, however, Allen was able to take a moment to bask in the magnitude of his accomplishments.
Allen broke Reggie Millers all-time 3-point record in the first quarter of the Boston Celtics game against the Los Angeles Lakers at TD Garden. He tied Millers mark (2,560) with 4:14 left in the quarter and passed it less than three minutes later.
When the buzzer sounded at the end of the quarter, Allen was able to step outside of his role as a basketball player and enjoy the feat without a shot clock or defender in his face.
It was a moment he had anticipated - and pondered - as he neared the mark.
Allen spoke with Miller, who was broadcasting the game, earlier in the day and asked for advice beforehand. Determining how to celebrate the record posed more of a question than how to break it.
I told him, What do I do? I dont know what to do,' said Allen. Do I just sit there and look stupid or do I stand up? I dont know. Reggie said, 'I dont know either. I just think youve got to do whatever you feel because that is your moment.' I said, Well I am glad youre here because this is your moment as well, and Im glad I can share it with you.
Allen acknowledged the crowd and then walked across the court to the broadcast table where Miller was working. First a handshake, then a hug. The two enjoyed a moment of mutual admiration for each others careers.
Allens mother stood just feet away on the court, waiting patiently to congratulate the son who she has tirelessly cheered on night in and night out. Their special moment was captured on the Jumbotron, with emotions displayed throughout the entire arena.
Allen then made his way over to his family. Amid screaming fans, he was a son, a husband, a father.
Once the timeout came, I just knew I had to go over there and say thank you again to Reggie, he said. My mom was standing there, she was in tears, so I wanted to make sure I thanked my family for being there for me. You dont do anything in any sport or job, without the backbone of your family. Theyre making sure I have the confidence to walk out of the house, so I can come here and do this job every night, making sure I eat right, that the kids are taken care of. Without them, I cant be who I am.
And Allen knows the Celtics wouldnt be who they are without their fans, either. Allen needed four 3-pointers to break the record when the Celtics played the Bobcats in Charlotte on Monday. He made two that night.
It was all about these fans in Boston, it was all about the fans in Boston, he said. I think about anything Ive ever done in my career, the stage here is set, and everybody was ready. Going back a game or so ago in Charlotte, the stage wasnt there, and I knew people wanted to see me do it. If I did it, I did it, but the stage here was set. When I ran out on the floor, and saw all the signs, and all the people.
This record, I just didnt really understand until that moment just how big it was.
After 15 years, Allen was able to take a moment to realize it all.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA