EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 30, 2012

Ray Allen's mom changes allegiances

Bill Burt
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Flo Allen-Hopson will be at her son Ray Allen’s home opener tonight, just like she was last year, the year before that and so on.

Always a crowd favorite, Flo always seems to be around for those memorable games.

You wouldn’t be able to miss her if you tried. She’ll be sitting near the front and she’ll be wearing a version of her’s uniform, with the respective glitter and sparkles.

But tonight’s home opener will be different from some recent ones. This home opener is in Miami. And for this one, Flo will be rooting for the Celtics’ new arch-enemy.

Once a Celtics fan-favorite, her son will be raining threes for the Miami Heat.

While her son has shown his displeasure with the way his career ended with the Celtics — according to an ESPN.com story he intimated he didn’t feel wanted — she has no such issues.

“Boston was always perfect in my heart,” says Flo, who resides in Orlando, Fla. with her husband Derek Hopson. “Those were five wonderful years. I had so much fun at courtside. I had so much fun being around Boston. Even though Ray has left, my connection with Boston will never be over.”

Ray has often talked about his mother’s advice with a lot of things in his life. Mom apparently had no part in her son’s parting ways with the Celtics.

“Business is business and that’s all up to Ray,” says Flo. “It was his decision. I’m his mom. I’ll always be his mom. And that means I will support him wherever he is.”

She has heard, from afar, that there has been criticism back in New England. She hopes it doesn’t get personal.

“He’s the same person he was when he was there,” says Flo. “Those who all know my son, love my son. He’s a kind and wonderful man. And when he was in Boston, those memories were the best he had in his entire career, that he’ll cherish forever.”

Flo says one connection she will always have with Boston is the Joselin Diabetes Center, one of the world’s preeminent research, clinical care and education organization for diabetes.

She has run the last three Boston Marathons on behalf of the JDC and plans on being back at the starting line in Hopkinton for No. 4 in April of 2013.

“What a place the Joselin Diabetes Center is,” says Flo, who has just recovered from a summer back surgery. “They have helped a lot of people, including my grandson, Walker.”

For now, Flo also notes that her home office is still adorned with Celtics pictures and posters everywhere, all of her son.

In other words, Boston will always be home.

“I really hope people in Boston understand. It was a tough decision for Ray to make,” says Flo. “He loves Boston and their fans. He always will. It hurts me if people think otherwise about him.

“This is a business and sometimes change is good,” says Flo. “I have nothing against the Celtics organization. But I’ll be rooting for Ray ... and the Heat.”