New York Knicks super fan Spike Lee is recruiting Ray Allen to The Mecca.
The setting: Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. The Miami Heat were down three with 19.4 seconds remaining on the clock. On the brink of losing the championship to the San Antonio Spurs, Ray Allen inbounded the ball to Mario Chalmers, who dribbled up the left sideline to the elbow of the arc.
He found LeBron James flashing to the wing from the top of the key. James launched a 3-pointer that clanked off the rim into the hands of Chris Bosh, who quickly passed it to Allen.
Allen was squirting out to the corner.
Every fan in the crowd was standing, watching with the angst and nervousness that only a die-hard fan can fathom, relieved the ball found its way into the hands of one of greatest shooters to ever grace the NBA.
Allen stepped back behind the three-point line, as cool as anyone could be in such a high-pressure situation. He let loose a shot with near perfect basketball mechanics.
The shot splashed through the net and a sea of white shirts collectively rose together with their hands high in jubilation. The game went into overtime and the Heat went on to win their second consecutive championship.
Allen has won two championships, one with the Heat in 2013 and one with the Boston Celtics in 2008. He’s been the leader of playoff teams, part of a championship winning trio, and a role player on a championship team.
He understands how to win in the NBA.
While Phil Jackson has done a great job adding talent and other pieces that fit around Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, the New York Knicks are missing a calming veteran leader who will keep the team focused on the fundamentals of winning when the team is floundering.
"“Spike Lee has been trying to recruit me,” Allen told the reporters during a break at his instructional basketball camp. “We’ve been texting.”"
I have no doubt that Allen still has his stroke. If he can defend, then he would be the perfect fit behind Courtney Lee.
Allen would provide the outside shooting off the bench that the Knicks need in order to spread the floor for Brandon Jennings.
Allen can also be the calm veteran leader the team sorely needs.
It seems like a long shot, but Allen may not be out of the question for the Knicks.
"“It doesn’t necessarily have to be championship or bust for me to go back to the NBA,” Allen told reporters. “I want to be in a situation where I thought I could help, play a little bit and help where they have good young talent.”"
It sounds like Allen is looking for a good fit and there may not be a fit better than the Knicks. He’d be a shoe-in behind Courtney Lee and would be a great teacher of professionalism to young guys like Kristaps Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, Marshall Plumlee and Maurice Ndour.
More than likely, the Knicks will give their last roster spot to one of the young guys they signed to partially guaranteed contracts – Ron Baker, Chasson Randle or J.P. Tokoto – but Allen could be the guy that keeps the Knicks even keel and focused on winning.
"“At the start of the year, if nothing pans out, then basically I’ll retire,” Allen told reporters."
I can’t be sure if Allen to the Knicks is a real possibility or if Phil Jackson even has interest.
If Jackson is serious about winning now, then he should consider Allen’s leadership essential to developing a winning mindset and culture.