“I’m not here on a 10-day [contract],” he said in jest Monday afternoon while addressing reporters. “Let’s get that out of the way.”
Instead, Allen, a 2018 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and two-time NBA champion, visited the facility as a guest of Monumental Basketball executive Sashi Brown. Following practice, Allen imparted lessons to players and shared secrets of longevity from his 18-year NBA career.
“One of the best players to ever play the game and one of the best-conditioned athletes to ever play the game,” Coach Scott Brooks said of Allen while his players were in a meeting room listening to his speech.
“Look at him now,” Brooks said. “He looks like he still can play.”
Allen officially retired in 2016 after winning championships with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat and holds the NBA record for most three-poiners made (2,973) and attempted (7,429) in a career. Arguably his most famous three came in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, when he slipped to the corner and hit the tying triple in the closing seconds of regulation. The Heat would go on to win in overtime, then prevail in Game 7.
Allen was 37 when he made that shot. The ability to sustain excellence for so long was part of the message he wanted to share.
“I believe that everything that I learned in my career, everything that sustained me for 18 seasons, it’s important to pass that along,” he said. “So many of the young guys, you’re looking for a position in this league, you’re looking for how to grow and become an all-star and make more money, and it’s small things. It’s the simple things we often complicate, and I try to expound on them the things of keeping it simple.”
Allen, who was joined by his wife, shared his Hall of Fame knowledge as a favor to Brown. Described by Allen as a “great family friend,” Brown, who was hired as chief planning and operations officer for Monumental Basketball this past summer, wanted the young Wizards to hear firsthand how diet and taking care of themselves can lead to long careers.
Even the veterans took note. Two-time all-star Bradley Beal and Allen spent a long time after the presentation talking one-on-one. CJ Miles, a 15th-year veteran and, at 32, one of the team’s oldest players, also found inspiration.
“We were talking about it in there, the average career, the number, it’s a revolving door. How you stay on the other side of that door is by creating habits in here,” Miles said after listening to Allen. “You talk about a guy who played 18 years and looks like he can play still right now. That’s what I’m trying to be.”
Miles and Brown return to practice; status uncertain for Wednesday
Following a three-game road trip to open the regular season, the Wizards returned to practice Monday closer to full strength as Miles and Troy Brown Jr. took part in the full workout.
Neither player participated in training camp or the preseason because of various injuries. Although Brooks said “both looked good” during the workout, he did not commit to either player appearing on the court for the Wizards’ home opener Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets.
“Maybe. Maybe one,” Brooks said. “We’ll see.”
Last week, while the rest of the Wizards played on the road, Miles and Brown remained in Washington and practiced with the Capital City Go-Go. Miles, whom the Wizards acquired in July for Dwight Howard, required surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot soon after the team evaluated him for the first time.
Miles graduated from a walking boot before jumping into some practice drills ahead of the season, and he reports feeling mentally prepared to play soon.
“I felt like we were always a little bit ahead from the beginning,” Miles said, “but just because you feel good, you can’t just throw [yourself] in the water. So I think we’ve been aggressive, but not to the point where we push anything. I think the last few days have been really, really good.”
Miles and Brown, the second-year pro, play the same position. In their absence, Isaac Bonga has started at small forward, averaging 6.3 points and 5.0 rebounds through three games.