Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ray Allen Celebrates 38th Birthday at American Century Championship

Photo of Allen courtesy of American Century Championship

South Shore, Lake Tahoe, Nev. – Ray Allen is celebrated as a two-time NBA champion and the all-time leader in 3-point field goals, but Saturday at the American Century Championship he was celebrated for turning 38 years old.

The long-range sharp-shooter and 10-time All-Star struggled in his second round, making just one birdie and compiling a two-round total of just 15 points in the modified Stableford format that awards points on a graduated scale for pars or better. But, he smiled and greeted fans after his round none-the-less.

“The people out here sang Happy Birthday to me all day long and it was something that I have never experienced before,” said Allen. “I have been out here for my birthday before but this crowd was bigger and larger than ever before.”

The warm reception, however, only masked the disappointment in his game that came from being exhausted after a demanding 7-game NBA Championship Series against the San Antonio Spurs. Allen continued mightily with clutch 3-pointers again and again.

A year ago, Allen withdrew after a tiring season with the Boston Celtics, where he won his first NBA title in 2008. But, he couldn’t stay away in 2013, making this his 10th American Century Championship.

“I’m completely exhausted,” admitted Allen. “But if I’m not with my family, I couldn’t be in a better place.

“I love playing golf and it’s everything I do when I’m not playing basketball. It keeps me in tune with my body. I make sure I get rest when I have that early tee time; it gives me structure, and it’s helped me improve my basketball game.”

But in a light moment earlier in the week when the much younger long-range bomber Stephen Curry pressed Allen for a few insider secrets to his longevity and accomplishment, Allen told Curry only what he already knew.

“I told him just to take care of his body,” said Curry, as he headed off to yet another scheduled appointment that comes when you win an NBA title.

The 24th American Century Championship continues through the weekend with television coverage by NBC on Saturday and Sunday from 3-6 p.m. (EDT).

By Craig Smith, former director of media relations for the U.S. Golf Association.

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