When Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce in Boston to create the Big Three, the only obstacle to their success seemed to be a possible lack of chemistry in the locker room. Put three alpha dogs in the same room, and trouble can arise.
But everything worked out for the Celtics.
Garnett was the fiery, emotional one while Allen chose to lead by example. The shooting guard’s quiet leadership and respect for the game has earned him praise across the league. Earlier this month, Allen won the Atlantic Division’s sportsmanship award and finished third for the NBA honor.
This kind of recognition is nothing new for Allen, who captured the NBA’s Joe Dumars Trophy (named after its inaugural recipient) during the 2002-03 season while a member of the Seattle SuperSonics. Phoenix’ Grant Hill won this season’s sportsmanship award ahead of Chauncey Billups, Allen and Antawn Jamison.
Four of the six divisions were won by players who have spent over a decade in the league, and they were the leading four vote-getters in the sportsmanship balloting. Sixth-place finisher Luis Scola has only spent three years in the United States but has been playing professional basketball across the world since 1996. Only Atlanta youngster Al Horford, who finished fifth, hasn’t been around the block for long.
No Celtic has ever won the award before, though P.J. Brown, a member of the 2008 Celtics championship team, was honored in 2003-04 as a member of the New Orleans Hornets.
For Hill, the Dumars Trophy is his third. He also won with the Suns in 2007-08 and the Magic in 2004-05. Billups was honored in 2008-09, the season between Hill’s two most recent trophies.