To Care More About the Next Person by ShareGood Blogger David Weiss
For over two decades Ray Allen was searching for the perfect 3-point shot opportunity. More often than not, he found it. With his pure and picturesque shooting motion, Allen made a career out of shooting from the outside. Today, Allen’s mission has changed, but his passion remains undeterred. After accomplishing everything an NBA player could ask for, Allen is now searching for “A vehicle for positive change and inclusion for all people”.
This two-time NBA Champion and ten-time All-Star scored 24,505 points in his 18-year NBA career (averaging 18.9 points-per-game). This came after a legendary collegiate career playing for Jim Calhoun and the Connecticut Huskies. Ray Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in made 3-pointers, hitting an astonishing 2,973 shots from behind the arc. Always respected as a gentleman and a scholar, the-now retired Allen is on a deep and enduring post-career mission.
Ray Allen began learning about the Holocaust while getting his bachelors degree from the University of Connecticut in the mid 1990’s. Allen was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks and played the first seven-and-a-half years for Bucks Owner Herb Kohl. Allen and Kohl struck up a friendship and as a first generation Polish Jew, Kohl had many cousins, aunts and uncles that were killed in the Holocaust. Learning of Allen’s interest in the Holocaust and Human Rights, the Senator invited his star All-Star guard to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.
Allen said “I was blown away. This is a place that everybody should go to”. After being traded from the Bucks to Seattle, Allen began regularly taking his Seattle Sonics, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat teammates to the D.C. Holocaust Museum.
Ray Allen’s outspoken call for increased Holocaust education lead to his appointment as a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and his inclusion on the Board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Along with his work on behalf of The Thurgood Marshall College Fund and his advocacy for his own “Ray of Hope” Foundation, Allen is making more clutch plays now than ever. All of these endeavors have a common core; making people feel increased compassion and empathy for their fellow human beings.
Recently Ray Allen went to Poland with an esteemed group of fellow Holocaust Remembrance advocates. Allen had his first audience at the Warsaw Airport where he was asked about the greatest opportunity he had ever been given. His response was “this trip”. The former NBA legend and the other scholars visited the Warsaw Ghetto, met with the Franciscan Monastery Nuns who saved over 750 Jews, visited Oskar Schindler’s Factory and toured Auschwitz. His group also met with several people in Poland who were deemed “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem (The Israeli Holocaust Museum). Allen also helped a group of Polish Jews who are restoring damaged Jewish headstones in rural Poland.
Ray Allen’s mission was to learn and understand the degree of human suffering and to gain added perspective about the human spirit. He is also passionate about others learning the same lessons. Allen snap-chatted and used social media in order to encourage others to come to Poland and learn about the important lessons of humanity. These are lessons that never decrease in importance and in value.
As Allen reflected back on when he first began learning about the Holocaust he said “It did something to my soul that made me more cognizant of people around me. To care more about the next person”.
Can you imagine a world where we all strive to be more cognizant of the people around us and to care more about the next person? That’s certainly a mission worth having and a life worth living.
Ray Allen’s commitment to this principle makes him a proud caretaker of the Holocaust Legacy and a first class, All-Pro human being.
For more from ShareGood blogger David Weiss, click HERE.
David Weiss was born, raised and still lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Being the grandson of four Holocaust Survivors has always been an integral part of his identity and life. David earned a Bachelors of Arts in Education from Cardinal Stritch University and a Masters of Arts in Education from Viterbo University. He spent eleven years as a second and third grade teacher before starting his own promotions business. David is also an author and teaches at the college level. David and his wife are the proud parents of a six year old daughter.