Hall of Fame NBA player Ray Allen can now add a new title to his historic trophy cabinet, as he just received his Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies from UConn, a college he represented for three seasons before going professional.
So the former basketball athlete, who won NBA titles with both the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics, is now a college graduate almost 30 years after he started his studies.
A special moment for Ray Allen as he earned his degree from UConn 👏
(📸: @UConnMBB) pic.twitter.com/lGkOP4kE3Q
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 7, 2023
“When I was in school there was a couple of RAs that were in their 30s and I thought, ‘Wow, they’re still in school’. It’s never too late to learn,” Allen told the press. “This day isn’t about me, it’s about the people that helped me along the way to finish this mission, be on this journey to graduate from college.
“And you got to do it by yourself but it’s made up of a lot of people around you, so I didn’t want it to be about me walking in and everybody, you know. These kids are on their individual journeys, so I was so inspired to be sitting next to them and talking to them,” he admitted.
According to a young student called Samuel Jacinto, the 47-year-old did not want to draw too much attention as he sat next to him while he awaited his name to be called.
“All of a sudden he sat next to me and I didn’t know what to say,” Jacinto said. “He sat down, I shook his hand and was like, ‘This is an honor, sir. I look up to you like everyone at this school, you’re a legend.’”
Back in 1996, Allen became the 5th overall pick in the NBA Draft, and 27 years later he says what an honor it is to be sitting amongst his fellow Class of 2023 graduates.
“He’s the most genuine guy. I was able to talk to him like a friend,” young Jacinto added. Allen and his fellow graduate kept talking throughout the ceremony, as he dedicated him some important advice.
“The kid that was sitting next to me, I told him just travel. See the world. Let your mind continue to learn,” the legend said. Don’t let this be the last time you pick up a book and read or try to further your understanding of life, because you’ve got to continue to kind of pour it into yourself.”
The crowd roared when his name was called, just like in his old days playing in the NBA
“Walter Ray Allen,” the speakers announced, as the crowd cheered in excitement. He walked up, took his diploma and saluted the audience with a thumbs up.
“It’s hard to really describe the feeling connected to it because it’s been a pursuit of mine for such a long time,” he expressed. “You start as a kid in elementary school and you’re just on this journey your whole life to try to graduate high school and then go to college.”
Allen said he started taking classes again back in 2008, as he was still a veteran member of the Celtics. However, it wasn’t until Covid-19 hit that he decided to make his official return to school and make it his purpose to receive a college degree.
“I loved my time here as a student-athlete,” he recalled. “Fortunately and unfortunately for me I had a higher calling at the time and it was sad for me because I left here and I really enjoyed being here as an athlete.
“But there was always a stone left unturned for me to be able to graduate.”