ray-allen-david-stern-96-draft

We all make mistakes, you guys. For instance, once upon a time, I predicted the Houston Rockets would be the league’s worst team during this year’s regular season. Yeah, they hadn’t yet traded for James Harden, but still a big-time whoops.

However, making mistakes isn’t always bad. Not only can you learn some valuable life lessons, you might also inspire someone to make you look like an idiot. That’s what happened with Ray Allen and SLAM magazine a million years ago. From SLAM:

“I’ve had one gripe my whole career about SLAM and I still keep it ‘til this day. It’s probably one of my sole motivators on a daily basis and I don’t know if I ever told anybody this. When that article came out with all of us on the cover [of SLAM 15], it had the (predicted) accolades on the inside. It said most likely to win MVP, most likely to do this. One of them said most likely to fade into obscurity…..and it was me. I was 21 and I knew what obscurity meant, but I had to look it up because I needed to make sure. It pissed me off because I felt I was going to leave my mark on this league. Whoever wrote that pissed me off and it gave me motivation my whole career. I was like I want to be somebody who I’m going to leave my lasting mark on this league. As much as it pissed me off, it was a good thing because it always made me remember that there were people who thought I wasn’t going to be good. So that was motivation.

Just to clarify, the cover Ray is talking about is the one that features the famed 1996 draft class. Essentially, that means that SLAM picked Ray Allen — a future Hall of Famer who has made the most threes in NBA history, has an NBA title and went to 10 All-Star Games — as the draftee Most Likely to Fade in to Obscurity instead of guys like Erick Dampier, Todd Fuller and Samaki Walker. Even Shareef Abdur-Rahim, that year’s third overall pick, did more fading away than Ray Allen did, unless we are talking that corner three Ray always takes where he’s falling to his left but still shoots straight somehow.

I also very much like that Ray Allen knows what “obscurity” means but still decided to look up the definition so that he could be properly motivated. You can always count on my good friends, Merriam and Webster, to come through in the clutch.