Mr. Basketball, Sugar, Ray Ray, Jesus Shuttlesworth, Skinny Walt

Call him what you'd like but Ray Allen in 18 years of the NBA has set a milestone that will be hard to beat. He's been coined as the greatest shooter of all time by Stephen Curry of the Golden Gate Warriors. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver referred to Ray as "an extraordinary player."

This is a guy who made 2,973 3-pointers in regular season games putting him at 40% from beyond the arc. There's something to be said about the guy on the court that gets the job done and that's exactly who Ray Allen was.As of November 1st, 2016 Ray Allen announced his retirement in The Players Tribune as 'A Letter to My Younger Self'. This wasn't too surprising to the league and fans as Ray's last season was 2013-2014 with the Miami Heat.

There's lessons to be learned from a career like this, how do you perform at such a high level over a long period of time. That's the ultimate question isn't it, "How do you get lasting change for ourselves over the long hall, that we can enjoy the benefits of in the way that it is intended to be. Seeing the reward of our hard work for a longtime."



Imagine you're at your own funeral and people are standing up to give your eulogy, what would people say? What would you want them to say? Are they saying what you want them to say about you, about how they remember you, how you want to be remembered? Or is there a lack on congruency between who you are and who you want to be. When we look at the letter he wrote to himself, it's very interesting and powerful. He tackles everything from overcoming challenge to race issues, you name it he addresses it.

"Don't ever put yourself in the position to wish you could hop in a time machine, Ray.

You need to stay focused, because things will only become more complicated as you have more success.."

Just for a moment, if you're new in an industry think about it. You're just coming out of school, you're getting started in your career, you're so excited about new technology, new structures, etc. You're getting excited about your future, you see your dream and what thats going to look like. I think his point here is very prudent, LIFE WILL GET MORE COMPLICATED. Every day, week, month, year adds on more and more responsibility. More things that could complicate your career, your personal life - every decision plays a factor. Stay focused on the goal.

When it comes down to it, what matters is how you perform in the end. Ray said, "In every locker room you'll ever be in, everybody will say all the right things. Everybody says they're willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to win a title. But this game isn't a movie. It's not about being the man in the fourth quarter. It's not about talk. It's getting in your work every single day, when nobody is watching." The difference between that fourth quarter performance is all the preparation that is done leading up to that moment, so many people think that this player has 'god give talent' and maybe so. The difference between those players and the players with a career like Ray Allen who pull through in the fourth quarter with 5.2 seconds left in game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals vs the spurs.. Is the fact that he prepped so meticulously, his challenge was who could be the first one to the gym and the last one out.

Under the pressure of it's the last 10 seconds of the game and you're the chosen player to go up for the final shot to tie the game and send it into over time, that's when muscle memory takes over. That's when the preparation changes and the muscles do their job! We see lots of people choke under the pressure and even the greatest players do this. We're humans we have flaws. But most of the times the ones who don't choke under the pressure have made the action, the ask, the 3 point shot second nature.

Everyone knows what we're talking about. Take your first sales pitch for example, you're driving to your meeting talking to yourself the entire way, sweating in the elevator thinking about your opening, walking into the conference room trying to remember the bullet points you rehearsed all last night with your buddy and shaking throughout the entire thing. Now, you don't think about the pitch until you're in the car on the way back from the sales pitch. If you don't have to think about it, it just happens. It's the boring routine that creates the repetition that allows all of us to become very good at what we do.

"Most nights, you won't go out. Your friends will ask why. You won't drink alcohol, ever.People will look at you funny. When you get to the NBA, you won't always play cards with the boys. Some people will assume you're not being a good teammate. You'll even have to put your family on the back-burner for your job."

This is someone who is dedicated to being successful.

"But if I'm being real with you, what you'll realize after you win the first title is that the thrill is fleeting.

The vindication is fleeting. If you only chase that high, you're going to end up very depressed."

Addiction to the thrill. Everyday people are seeking that high. They want to shoot the next biggest animal, their chasing bigger crowds to lecture in front of, getting a nicer car, buying the biggest TV. Our society becomes addicted to the thrill of success, but we don't realize is that it's all very fleeting. It takes people a long time to realize that it doesn't matter, it doesn't hold much value in the journey.

"I really mean it from the bottom of my heart: Life is about the journey, not the destination.

And that journey will change you as a person."

Sit there and reflect for a second. Are you chasing that next shiny object and we forget that it's not a destination, it's not "I'll be happy when..." If you're after "I'll be happy when..." you'll never be happy. But instead if you're happy now and you're looking to continue this through the journey called life you'll always be happy. When never comes, someday is not on a calendar, the reality is if you don't have appreciation for what you have now. You'll never be happy.

Is retirement going to be the thing that makes you happy? If you just go killing yourself to get to that point of retirement, the point of falling across that finish line. You may just fall across that finish line and die. Really contemplate what makes happiness, what would allow you to have that sense of gratitude, what would you write to yourself when you were 13?

There's going to be something that you want to have relative to greatness if your life, that will ultimately provide you with peace. The work that Ray Allen put in, allowed him to get to a point in his life and his career where he recognized success, greatness and that gave him peace.

Ray Allen's final line in the letter to himself read;

"Most people will never really get to know the real you. But they'll know your work."

Remember the carerr of Ray Allen, a legend has taught us that the work you put in is the one thing that can't be taken from you. We'll always have critics, we'll always have loss but we'll always be the ones that get to decide on the quality of the work we put into our careers.

Click the image of Ray below for the full TV show


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