Yesterday, Heat guard Ray Allen was in Washington, D.C., to lobby members of Congress to continue funding type 1 diabetes research. Allen's son Walker was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 17 months old. Since then Allen, his wife, Walker, and Walker's four siblings have fought to keep the disease under control while also supporting groups searching for a cure.
On Tuesday, Allen spoke with Sports Illustrated Kids before talking to Congress about type 1 diabetes, how his family has dealt with the disease and the impact it has had on his son. During the interview, Allen also talked about winning his second NBA title and his experience playing with the Heat and the Big Three.
You won your second title a few weeks ago. How does this one compare to winning in Boston a few years ago?
I haven't compared them. I really don't think you can compare. Anyone who has won multiple championships, you never really say this one was better than that one because the process of winning is never easy, it's never guaranteed and you're never a sure thing ever to win it. Both teams, both cities, presented different challenges, and that's what's fun about it. You're always up against something and you've got to make sure that you defy any odds that are thrown in front of your path to keep making sure you perform your tasks.
What's the experience like playing on a team with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh?
You have an opportunity to be around great players and giving yourself chances to win every night, and with these guys there's always room for improvement and everyone's always thinking about getting better and you never walk into a situation assuming a game is supposed to be won because you just show up. Everybody knows that everybody has to do their jobs. And that's been one of the more enjoyable things this season is just always trying to figure out a way we can improve.
You're going back to the Heat next season. What were the primary factors that led you to that decision?
We had a great locker room. It was a group of guys that enjoyed doing what they're doing, and built into everything that we accomplished. We had an insane amount of fun this year, off the court. We had on the court, but I think off the court we had more fun, just being around each other and each other's families. The year went by so quickly, and when you win a championship it's hard not to say "Let's do this again." We have the opportunity, let's try it again.
Yeah, people are already talking about a three-peat for the Heat next year. Is it too early to think about it? Is next season championship or bust?
We don't worry about it. The process is long enough. When you start the season, everyone talks about winning a championship, but it's small steps, it's building, it's trying to get everybody on the same page and habits and worrying about taking care of those everyday, routine things that make us a team. And then a championship happens from those small little things building up. And then one day you win a championship. So that's probably the important thing.
After a team wins a championship, people like to talk about a championship hangover. Is that real, and, if it is, how do you deal with it?
It is real. When I came to Miami this year, I didn't feel it from the guys. They didn't talk about having won the previous year. So that was the one thing that was probably the most shocking. Nobody really talked about it. It was almost like they didn't win. So they were trying to win their first one, and that was something that was very mature about this group that I was apart of. It wasn't like a constant year of celebrating "We won last year." It was just, "Hey, we're trying to win this year." So I'd imagine we'd go into next season with the same mindset.
How much longer do you want to play or you think you can play?
I don't know. I have one year left on my contract, and I think after the year is over with I'll just assess my situation, the body, how the year ends, and make a decision from there.
Photo: Ray Allen of the Miami Heat high-fives fans as he exits the court after Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals on June 18, 2013 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images, Copyright 2013 NBAE)