Ray Allen proved his status as a legend during his time with the Milwaukee Bucks, but is that enough for him to be able to claim the franchise’s no. 34 jersey as his own?
Ray Allen is a basketball legend. He’s one of the greatest 3-point shooters of all time. He’s an NBA champion, and he played more games with the Milwaukee Bucks than any other team.
To be exact, Ray-Ray played in 494 games for the Bucks over seven seasons. His contributions in Seattle, Boston and Miami were all significant, but his tenure with Milwaukee was also undeniably great.
Allen’s numbers with the Bucks are all on par with or better than his career stats. With Milwaukee he averaged 19.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. He shot 45 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc. For his career he posted 18.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. His career shooting percentages are 45 percent from the field and 40 percent from downtown.
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Without a doubt, Allen is one of the greatest to ever lace ‘em up for Milwaukee. The last time the Bucks were truly relevant and in the championship conversation was during Sugar Ray’s stay. He helped lead Milwaukee to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bucks went seven games against the Allen Iverson-led Philadelphia 76ers in 2001.
During the epic series against the 76ers, Allen played nearly every minute of every game. He put up more than 27 points per contest and made 28 of 55 three-pointers over the seven games. With Glenn Robinson and Sam Cassell completing the power trio, the Bucks had a real chance.
As a Buck, Allen wore No. 34. Giannis Antetokounmpo wears the number today, and while the Greek Freak is showing tremendous promise early in his career, some Bucks fans might wonder if anyone should be given the chance to sport No. 34 in Milwaukee after Allen’s remarkable accomplishments. Should No. 34 be retired for Allen?
My reflexes are to exclaim a resolute YES, but the answer is actually more complicated.
Bucks fans who remember watching the team in the 1980s might know why. From 1984-85 to 1987-88 Terry Cummings had a great run in Milwaukee. Cummings played in 480 games for the Bucks (including a brief second stint in the mid-1990s) and lit up the stat sheet. He posted 19.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game as a Buck.
Cummings’ contributions cannot be overlooked. But I still maintain the Bucks should retire No. 34 for Allen, who is the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers, a 10-time All-Star and an Olympic gold medalist. No jump shot has ever looked purer, and in addition to virtually every Milwaukee three-point shooting record, Allen owns the franchise record for consecutive games played with 400.
Antetokounmpo may end up being the greatest Buck to ever grace the court. As a fan nothing would make me happier than to see Milwaukee’s great Greek hope blossom into a hall of famer, but save No. 34 for Allen.