STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Twenty-seven years after hitting his last jump shot in the building, Ray Allen walked back into Gampel Pavilion on Sunday wearing a cap and gown.
The 47-year-old basketball Hall of Famer sat in the stands with other graduating students, under a banner commemorating the retirement of his UConn jersey, then took his place in the procession t o receive his bachelor’s degree in general studies.
The two-time NBA champion was greeted with a loud ovation as he was handed his diploma and gave a thumbs up to his family.
“It’s never too late to learn,” Allen told the Hartford Courant. “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.”
Allen, who averaged 19 points during his three seasons at UConn, left school early for the NBA. He began taking classes again during the second half of his 19-year pro career with Milwaukee, Seattle, Boston and Miami. He said he got serious about finishing his degree during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That was one of the best things that happened to me because it kept me with a purpose every single day, kept me with intention,” he said.
Allen said he was inspired to finish school by his children. That included his daughter Tierra, a former Quinnipiac University volleyball player, who was the first in the family to graduate college.
“She inspired me because I saw her graduate and now my kids see me graduate,” he told The Courant.
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