When shooting guard Ray Allen signed with the Miami Heat for a below-market two-year contract, a not insignificant number of Boston Celtics fans deemed him a traitor. The Heat and Celtics have been rivals for the better part of the last five years, even before LeBron James went to South Beach, and the idea that a key player could jump from one Eastern contender to another didn't sit well. Never mind that he had been the subject of trade rumors for more than a season, or that the Celtics signed Jason Terry as a replacement while simultaneously trying to convince Allen to return.
Nevertheless, Allen enjoyed his five seasons in Boston and wanted to thank the fans. So he did exactly that with a full-page newspaper ad in Sunday's edition of The Boston Globe, which you can see after the jump (via SLAM).
The text is typically classy from Allen: respectful of the city and its tradition, thankful for the opportunity, and about more than just playing basketball. However, Allen might also have misjudged exactly how bad some Celtics fans feel about his deal with Miami. Boston takes its sports very seriously, with a passion that borders on jingoism. The idea that any player would jump to a rival is distasteful. For Allen to then thank fans as if everything were fine suggests that he didn't even truly understand Boston, by one point of view.
That doesn't make the ad in poor taste — it's likely that Allen really does feel all of these things for the city. But if he thinks there won't be animosity when he returns to TD Garden next season, or that a newspaper ad will heal any rifts in the relationship, then he's very mistaken. NBA fans, and especially those aligned with the Celtics, don't forgive so easily.
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