Nova Scotia

'Pretty special': Pants of basketball Hall of Famer show up in Digby Frenchys

Matt Boyle says he wasn't looking for anything in particular when he found Ray Allen's warmup pants in a second-hand store.

'To find something of this magnitude for only $4.65 is pretty special'

Halifax's Matt Boyle says the handwritten number in these warmup pants are what tipped him off to the fact they were originally worn by Hall of Fame basketball player Ray Allen. (Matt Boyle)

Halifax's Matt Boyle says he was just waiting for his wife at the Digby Frenchys when he came across a once-in-a-lifetime find — especially for a sports fan like himself.

Buried near the bottom of a bin full of oversized items in the discount clothing store, Boyle said he found a treasure.

He found warmup pants, but not just any warmup pants.

They belonged to two-time NBA champion and 10-time NBA all-star Ray Allen from his time with the Boston Celtics. Allen, who played 18 seasons in the league and is one of the greatest shooters ever to play, is now in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The cost of those pants? $4.65.

"I would have been happy with anybody's pants," Boyle told CBC's Maritime Noon. "But for it to be Ray Allen's, I was overjoyed."

Boyle says he found the pants while looking through a bargain bin at Frenchys in Digby. (Matt Boyle)

Boyle, who referees basketball, said it was mostly internet sleuthing, as well as a lucky social connection, that helped him find the original owner.

Once he pulled the 2XL Adidas-brand pants from the bin, he said he noticed the number 20 handwritten inside, as well as a tag labelled "Player Fit/Player I.D.," indicating they were owned by an actual team member.

Boyle assumed they came from Gordon Hayward, who currently occupies that roster number, and attempted to reach him through Instagram.

Though that message didn't reach Hayward, Boyle said a friend who knows the Celtics' equipment manager saw it and passed the question along.

From there, Boyle said the equipment manager was able to confirm the legitimacy of the pants and that the No. 20 was in his own handwriting.

The fact that the pants were made by Adidas, four years after the league switched to Nike, led him to a different conclusion about their original owner.

"The gentleman responded, saying, 'That's my handwriting, but the Adidas pants were actually 2015 and before,'" Boyle said. "So the last person before 2015 to wear those pants [with] number 20 would be Ray Allen.

Boyle says he plans to give the pants to a friend. (Matt Boyle)

"So I was overjoyed. And he said, 'That's my handwriting, those are Ray Allen's pants.' So it was a hilarious, kind of quirky find."

'I want to think these are the NBA Finals pants'

Despite his excitement over the discovery, Boyle said he still doesn't know how Celtics' gear made it to a second-hand store in Nova Scotia.

T-shirts and jerseys are a common find at Frenchys in Digby, he said, but to find an actual player's clothing all the way from Boston isn't something he would have expected.

As well, the well-used condition of the pants caused him to wonder whether they might be from a particularly important game.

"There's two buttons on the right side that are ripped off.… I think it was an intense game and he was ready to fire it up and he just ripped them off, and ripped the buttons themselves.

"So I want to think that these are the NBA Finals pants. But I can't confirm that."

Boyle has also made efforts to contact Allen, but said he hasn't yet received a response.

He plans to eventually give the pants to a friend, whose favourite player is Allen, but said he's proud just to have discovered them at all. 

Ray Allen played for the Celtics from 2007-2012. ((John Raoux/Associated Press))

"I've found my fair share of Ralph Lauren brand-new polo shirts," said Boyle, whose family has a cottage in the area. "Really nice T-shirts. But to find something of this magnitude for only $4.65 is pretty special."

Allen played for the Celtics from 2007-12. He played two seasons in Miami after that before retiring.

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With files from Maritime Noon

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