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Ray Allen returns for his 18th NBA season in top form for the Heat

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Allen may be the oldest player on the team but he's not exactly showing his age.

Mike Ehrmann

What does a 38 year old, 10 time NBA all star do in the off-season after winning his second league championship?

Apparently he gets in to the "best shape he's been in since UCONN" and challenges Mario Chalmers to lose 10 pounds in a week (which, by the way, he did, with ease. You have more self-control than me, Super Mario).

I don't know about anybody else, but I wouldn't have blamed Allen for sitting on his couch for three straight months after hitting the biggest shot in Heat history, but that wouldn't be Ray's style.

In the article above, Shane Battier is quoted as saying "[Allen's] the most disciplined guy I've ever played with. Some would say he's borderline psychotic with his regimen."

The NBA's all time leading three-point shooter calls them "championship habits", and it's what led to the bet with Chalmers. Allen, with some backing from Dwyane Wade and Lebron James, challenged Chalmers to lose 10 pounds and get in better shape, telling him "We need you to be the head of the team, you need to be in tip-top shape and we need you to lead by example". I don't know if anybody would necessarily call Chalmers the "head of the team", but hey, whatever works.

Ray Allen proved his commitment to winning championships early this summer, when he accepted his player option for the 2013-14 season instead of opting out in favor of more money. Allen's selflessness allowed the Heat to bring back Chris Andersen and sign Greg Oden without incurring too stiff of a luxury tax.

The "best shape of my career" line is one thrown around far too often by athletes - and more often than not, it usually brings bad luck of some sort - but in Allen's case, if nothing else, he's setting an example for the rest of the team to follow that is very much needed to avoid a back-to-back championship hangover. After finally getting over the hump, a lot of teams and players get complacent, and now that the Heat have done it twice, it would've been easy for the team to sit back and reflect on what they've accomplished. Jesus Shuttlesworth is doing his part to make sure that the team keeps putting in work day in and day out to do what only five NBA teams have done before - win three straight NBA titles.

In his first season as a member of the Heat, Allen averaged 10.9 points in just under 26 minutes a night, shooting 45% from the field, and more importantly, 42% from beyond the arc. Allen figures to be the first man off the bench once again this season, and could play an even larger role, with both LeBron and Dwyane figuring to get a bit more rest this season than they did last as the team gears up for another run at the title.

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