When President Obama announced a new round of political appointees last week, one name stood out.
Ray Allen spent 18 seasons in the NBA. He won championships with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, and is the all-time leader in career 3-pointers.
Two months after retiring, the 41-year-old has joined a new team – the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
Allen is not Jewish, but he is a longtime supporter of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He joined the museum’s Voices on Antisemitism podcast in 2010 to talk about his visits:
“My first visit to the Holocaust Museum, I had just gotten to the NBA. I just remember the first time I went there, it being so profound. And it’s a lesson for everybody. That’s something that stayed true to me. And I’ve been four or five times. And every time I go, I see something different. And when I come back, I always take somebody different.”
Allen added that every time he visits the museum, he has brought someone different with him. Over the years that has included friends, teammates and even coaches.
“You take any person through the Museum, based on their experiences and their life, they’re going to see different things,” he said. “I think the most important thing is communication. That’s a powerful, powerful tool, just talking about it and trying to understand it, and learn from it, and grow.”
In a post on his Instagram account, Allen described the appointment as an “honor:”
Tonight I received some great news. I was just appointed by President Obama to serve on the board of the Holocaust Memorial Council! What an honor it is for me to be able to be a part of this organization. I hope to be a vehicle for positive change and inclusion of ALL people!!! #wemustneverforget #yesmyrealnameiswalter
Established in 1980, the United States Holocaust Memorial Council now serves as the board of trustees for the national museum. Other board members include Senators Al Franken and Bernie Sanders, historian Deborah Lipstadt and author Jonathan Safran Foer.