For Ray Allen, it was the summer of The Shot.
Everywhere Allen went this offseason, whether it was Connecticut or Florida or anywhere else, The Shot was the only thing people asked the Miami Heat guard about. Understandable, given that his 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left tied Game 6 of the NBA Finals to save the Heat back in June, helped send the title series against San Antonio to an ultimate game, and will surely go down in playoff lore.
A new season for the Heat starts when training camp opens in about three weeks.
But for Allen, that moment from three months ago still has not lost any of its shine.
"You can never smite glory," Allen said. "It's something that you always will be associated with when you're winning."
That shot against the Spurs stands out from all the others Allen has made. Miami was down by three points, and LeBron James missed a 3-pointer from the left wing. Chris Bosh grabbed the rebound, with three San Antonio players around him, and tossed the ball to Allen — who was backtracking to get behind the 3-point line in the right corner.
A couple days later, he became an NBA champion for the second time, the ring he'll get Oct. 29 about to join his 2008 Boston ring in the jewelry box.
"It doesn't matter where I went, where I've gone, what city or state I was in, it's all people could talk about," Allen said. "I always have to let people know that in that situation, being a part of a team, I was part of the reason. Everybody kept telling me I was the reason. We had 15 parts of the reason. You look back on the season and somebody always did something to help our team win a game. That's what being a great teammate is all about."
Shane Battier made six 3-pointers in Game 7, helping Miami wrap up its second straight championship. Yet this summer, what was the topic he was most quizzed about?
The Shot, of course.
"It was pretty awesome," Battier said. "Hey, it's all I wanted to talk about, too."
The play has been replayed on YouTube millions of times, as has Allen's reaction moments after Tony Parker's shot at the end of regulation missed and the teams went to overtime.
In anticipation of the Spurs' title celebration, security personnel surrounded the floor at AmericanAirlines Arena before Miami's final possession of regulation, ready to seal off the court with a yellow rope once time expired. Some of the guards were literally just a couple feet from Allen before he took the 3-pointer that tied the game.
Allen saw them there, was less than thrilled, and somewhat comically — not to mention somewhat profanely — invited them to leave the area as he walked to the bench to get ready for overtime.
"I was pretty" angry, Allen said. "The audacity of the league, and this is not even their fault, but just the fact that they did that, on our home floor, when we still had say-so in the matter and had a chance to change the outcome. That's always going to be a lesson to me and to anybody. You don't give up. You keep fighting to the end. And we did that."
He has made 13,963 shots in games since entering the NBA in 1996 and Allen doesn't mind if all anyone keeps talking about is that particular one.
"I never got tired of it, because I think about what could be the flip side of it, what people could be saying that would make me not want to be out," Allen said. "It was an awesome moment."
Even now, with his kids back in school for the fall and the informal workouts for a new season already underway for many Heat players, Allen still finds himself answering questions about the play. Only about a week ago, someone texted him the following message: "I still don't know how you made that shot."
The text was from Bosh.
"He helped," Allen said. "He definitely helped."