NBA Star Ray Allen Graduates From UConn Almost 30 Years After Leaving School
Almost 30 years after leaving school to enter the NBA Draft, basketball player Ray Allen has received his bachelor’s degree. The former Boston Celtics shooting guard received a degree in general studies from the University of Connecticut and took an epic picture with his fellow graduates to celebrate.
According to CBS Sports, Allen took a selfie with the graduates in front of his retired No. 34 jersey. Photographer Jessica Hill caught the snap and shared it on Twitter.
“With his retired number above him, @UConnMBB Ray Allen joins @UConnCLAS students receiving their diplomas today at Gampel in Storrs #UConn23 @Courant_Sports,” she wrote.
With his retired number above him, @UConnMBB Ray Allen joins @UConnCLAS students receiving their diplomas today at Gampel in Storrs #UConn23 @Courant_Sports pic.twitter.com/iRkDIeLYAs
— Jessica Hill (@NutmegNews) May 7, 2023
Though many wowed parents and graduates were thrilled by Allen’s presence, he told The Hartford Courant the honor was his.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Allen also opened up about how long the journey to matriculation has been and what it’s meant to him.
“It’s hard to really describe the feeling connected to it because it’s been a pursuit of mine for such a long time. 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,” he shared. “I loved my time here as a student-athlete. 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.
Ultimately Allen has his daughter, Tierra, to thank for his degree. He credits the Quinnipiac University grad, the first in the family to graduate from college, as his academic inspiration.
“She inspired me because I saw her graduate and now my kids see me graduate, my son is 18, he’s about to graduate from high school and move on to college. So now they’ll forever remember these moments. They’ve been in this building when my jersey was retired. So this building, it not only means athletic, but it also symbolizes academic as well,” he told The Courant.
According to ESPN, Allen averaged 19 points throughout his three-season run at UConn. He played for the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat in the NBA before retiring in 2014. He went on to become a two-time NBA champion and 10-time NBA All-Star. And in 1995, he was named USA Basketball’s Male Athlete of the Year.