Sonics guard Ray Allen had a whirlwind first two months in Seattle after being acquired in a February trade, boosting his per-game averages across the board and helping lead the Sonics back into the playoff hunt. The summer afforded Allen an opportunity to relax while still working on his game and getting settled in Seattle before joining Team USA for the Tournament of the Americas. SUPERSONICS.COM sat down with Allen earlier this summer to get his thoughts on his new team and city as well as the upcoming season.
Question: Of all the new faces you've seen since coming to Seattle, which one helped you feel most at home?
The Sonics won 60% of their games after trading for Allen.
: I would say Brent Barry
. He's been here in Seattle for awhile, and has been in the league even longer. On the court he knows how the game of basketball is to be played. He's not a selfish player, and he brings skills to the floor that every team needs. Off the court he knows this area well and has helped me as I learn Seattle.
Q: What's the first thing Nate McMillan, your new coach, said to you after the trade?
Allen: Literally, the first thing he said when he called me was "This is Coach McMillan." It took me a couple of seconds to remember Nate is a coach now. I still think of him as a player. I was just starting out in the NBA when he was finishing up.
Q: Why did you negotiate your own contract?
Allen: I have been on the NBA Players Executive Committee for a number of years now. I helped negotiate the collective bargaining agreement in 1999 and have always enjoyed my role on that committee.
Q: Prior to your first game after the trade (in L.A. against the Lakers Feb. 23rd), you ran into your "He Got Game" co-star Denzel Washington courtside at the Staples Center. What did he say to you?
Allen: To this day Denzel still calls me "Son." So I call him "Pops." "Pops" just told me to relax and play my game.
Q: How have you enjoyed your first months in Seattle?
Allen: This city is incredible. I'm still finding my way around, but it's been fun to explore. The fans have also been great and a big part of making my transition so smooth. My teammates are helping me find ways to beat traffic.
Q: What would be your New Year's resolution for 2004?
Allen: I don't do New Year's resolutions; basically, I don't want to need New Year's as an excuse for me to start working harder on some aspect of my life. For me, I just don't want to wait until January 1st to become better.
Q: What do you want to work on heading into next season?
Allen: I want to get stronger. The West is filled with big 2-guards, not to mention all the big fellas in the post. I would say ball handling is the other primary focus. My role with the Sonics allows me to bring the ball up at times and play quarterback a little bit. I want my ball handling to be a strength. And, of course, I'll still work on my shooting.
Q: How do you define "work ethic"?
Allen: The definition of work ethic is really simple in my mind. It means bringing it all day, every day. 24/7, rain or snow, however you want to say it Ö to me it's best summed up by all day, every day. At this level that's what it takes to excel.