After winning the title in 2008, the taste of championship glory is still on the tip of my nose. I can recall watching game 6 of the 2008 Finals in disbelief as the Celtics steam rolled over the Lakers before half time.
How sweet it was!
Raw emotions were displayed on the faces of players and fans alike. The Boston faithful had waited 22 years for this moment.
Players such as Kevin Garnett
had spent a life time listening to doubters proclaiming he does not have what it takes to get it done. Watching Garnett drop to the floor and kiss the Celtics logo, penned by Red Auerbach’s brother, seemed to perfectly sum up the sixty years of championship glory and recent years of heart wrenching mediocrity, tragic deaths and untimely injuries with the flawless respect for the basketball legends that preceded him.
Sure Garnett’s raw emotion was viewed by some as barbaric. At times Kevin could be barbaric in his emotional response to victory or defeat. That “barbaric behavior” is honest, real and right from the heart. What can be more refreshing in an era where the image of NBA players has taken the front seat over honesty and reality?
Though the Celtics had competitive teams from 1987 thru 1992 and again in 2001, the championship never really seemed that close.
Even during the competitive years, their were always too many “ifs” surrounding the team.
remains healthy, we can win it all again…”
“If McHale’s ankles stay strong no one can guard him in the post…”
“If Auerbach can pull off one more historic move to get us a bench…”
“If Len Bias didn’t…”
“If Reggie Lewis…”
My biggest “if” was always, if Bird
never hurt his back in 1990 he could have had his last championship encore against Magic and the Lakers in 1991. What could have been more fitting?
Similar “if” scenarios surround the current Celtics team. The honest truth is, when you surround your team’s faith around the health of players over 30 you are always taking an “educated risk”.
As a fan that still tastes the victory celebrations of June 17, 2008, I would prefer to have educated and experienced veterans in a bid to reclaim glory now then youthful inexperienced players looking to make a name for themselves and possibly have team success while doing it.
As a Celtics fan from the 1980’s, I preferred the “educated risk” the organization took as the original big three’s career winded down by keeping them intact. Many may have forgotten but trade talks, similar to those surrounding Ray Allen’s this season, surrounded Kevin McHale after the 1990 loss to the Knicks in the first round.
Back then I grimaced at the thought of Bird, Parish and McHale
being broken up, it just wasn’t Celtic-like to dispose of players that played on broken feet to help us reach the Finals.
Red Auerbach believed in rewarding players that worked hard for him with job security. Though in today’s era that is nearly impossible, I still believe in that philosophy. The philosophy that if a player has job security he will help to train his eventual replacement. Call me naive but Celtics players longevity with the team is one of the elements that drove me to be such an ardent Celtics fan.
Today I feel my view points have not changed. To break up Pierce, Garnett and Allen would be a sin that would do Red disjustice.
Yes, I will stand by the Celtics “educated risk” just as I did in the late 80s/early 90s. Hopefully this time around all the “what ifs…” that coincide with reminiscing about possible championships past will be replaced by “thank god we didn’t…”