Ray Allen has gone by many names and descriptors over the past 20 years: future Hall of Famer, three-point assassin, Sugar Ray, Jesus Shuttlesworth, etc. Now, the NBA great is taking on a new role, and with it, a new title — restaurateur.
This will be far from the family’s first foray into the food business: Shannon created and is an executive producer of The Pre-Game Meal, a cooking show on Comcast SportsNet. But the choice to open up the restaurant did not stem directly from Shannon, but instead from their 9-year-old son, Walter Allen.
The Allens made the decision to open the restaurant after years of having to avoid similar, less healthy fast food venues due to Walter’s Type I diabetes diagnosis. Savannah expounded on the idea in an interview with the Herald:
“I had an aha moment where I realized I couldn’t sit around helpless waiting for someone else to create a fast-food option that met our family’s dietary needs, and as we did our research it became obvious that this wasn’t a struggle unique to us, families everywhere are looking for convenience without compromise,” she said.
With the announcement, Ray joins a long list of athletes who have dipped into the restaurant business. Among the notable and successful ventures:
John Elway owns three Colorado steak restaurants, all named Elways. And current Denver signal-caller Peyton Manning owns 21 Papa John franchises in the state as well.
Former NHL great Wayne Gretzky, NBA legend Michael Jordan and NFL Hall-of-Famer Dan Marino also opened steakhouses.
As of January, Allen would not have even been the only notable former notable Miami Heat player to be in the restaurant game in the area — LeBron James and his wife Savannah James recently shut down The Juice Spot, though they are reportedly hoping to open up another store in Cleveland.
Grown is set to open in March.