May 4, 2013
I’m sitting in my house on a warm Spring night. My Boston Celtics headed by Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett just lost Game 6 and the Round 1 series to the New York Knicks. I can’t help but smile, and I’m a Celtics fan to the core. Why am I smiling? Because I’m proud of my team to the point of tears. These old and battered Celtics had just won two straight games in the series after being down 0-3. IT was 2-3 coming in and Boston was looking to tie it up at 3 a piece. After a miserable 3 quarters in beantown, New York had a 20-point lead, and the crowd was shocked at what looked to be a surefire loss. Not only that, there is speculation that 15-time All Star Kevin Garnett and future Hall of Famer Paul Pierce may not return next season. No one wants to see these guys go out getting beat to a pulp. So, it was about 5 minutes into the 4th quarter when all of the sudden the Celtics went on a 20-0 run, yes I said 20-0 run! It all happened so fast. The crowd was ecstatic and Boston cut it to 5 after being down 20 after the 3rd It looked like a historic comeback of miraculous proportions. With only a couple of minutes remaining, the Knicks hit a couple of big time shots to ensure a win. They now advance to the semifinals. Kevin Garnett, a future legend who led the Celtics to a 2008 NBA Championship, left the game with a few seconds remaining telling Coach Doc Rivers (Pegged by many as best coach in pro basketball) “I Love You” while Doc uttering the same to him. TD Garden rumbled as a huge applause erupted for Garnett. The fans knew this may be the last time they see him in green. Even with Boston losing in 6 games, I couldn’t be more proud to call myself a Boston Celtics fan. There just isn’t a team out there with as much heart, pride, and dedication than this late Boston team. Kevin Garnett has been the nucleus of the squad, cementing himself into the Hall of Fame with his extraordinary leadership, unrivaled intensity and phenomenal talent.
I actually grew up as a Chicago Bulls fan in the 1990′s. I was born in 1989, when Michael Jordan was emerging as a standout player. Since I’ve been in diapers, I pretty much watched Michael Jordan and the Bulls. I am truly blessed to have been able to watch the greatest player of all time in his hay day. He won 6 titles with the Bulls up to 1998. I played basketball myself, for various church squads and I was always inspired by Michael. He is still an inspiration to me to this day at age 23. I’ll never forget the days of shooting hoops in the front yard, watching Space Jam, and enjoying watching MJ win title after title. Those were the days of my youth! However, when Jordan retired, I stopped watching pro basketball. I guess the loss of MJ from the game got me down. I started watching again in 2007. I saw the news of Kevin Garnett joining the Boston Celtics to make the “Big 3″. I knew Garnett was a great player, but he never got to show championship potential in Minnesota because of the people around him. Needless to say, I chose the Celtics as my new team and never looked back. I pegged KG as my second favorite player of all time behind Michael Jordan. I loved the intensity of KG and couldn’t get enough of it. The guy trash talked for 2 straight hours, whether it was on the free throw line, walking to the bench, shooting a jumpshot, wherever! His sheer desire to win was unbelievable and I enjoyed watching him and the Celtics begin the Big 3 era.
In the 2007-2008 season, the Celtics, led by Paul Pierce, KG and Ray Allen, blew past everyone in the league to a 66-16 regular season record. They climbed their way all the way to the NBA Finals to take on the LA Lakers, beating them in 6 games to win the 2008 championship. After winning his first NBA title, Garnett screamed “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!” in an interview afterwards. This was one of the most influential and moving moments in NBA history, and for me, a new Celtics fan, a memory I’ll never forget.
I was looking forward to maybe 2 more championships in the Big 3 era, but the Celtics fell short for various reasons. In 2008-2009, Garnett was injured in the playoffs, and Boston lost to the Magic in the conference semifinals. In 2009-2010, Boston beat up and coming star Lebron James and the Cavs for the second straight time in the playoffs, and even went on the NBA Finals, but an injured Kendrick Perkins did them in, losing the series 4-2 to the LA Lakers. The 2010-2011 season proved to be tough, with the emergence of the Miami Heat Big 3. Boston lost to Miami in the Eastern Conference semifinals. As age became an issue, the 2011-2012 season approached. Many thought this would be the the last stand for KG, Pierce and Allen. The Celtics met the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, putting on a heck of a show, nearly beating the Heat in 7 games. This was a frustrating one for me, because of how close we came to winning. Boston lost in Game 7, and Miami won by the skin of their teeth. That brings us to 2013, in which, as you know, Boston lost in the first round, but things surely would have been different if Rajon Rondo was not injured back in January. HE was sorely missed. There are many questions entering the 2013-2014 season. I hope we can get Pierce and Garnett to give it one last shot, with a healthy Rondo, along with Green and Bass returning. I like our chances and would love to see my favorite player (KG) have one last shot at the ultimate prize.
I’m left with fond memories of these Celtics, that’s for sure. I’ve been a huge basketball fan since I was a child, and I play basketball, so it hits home for me. I watched them on TV in my home, literally right where I am sitting this very moment, win the 2008 NBA championship. I fondly remember watching a 2009 Celtics playoff game in a Savannah, GA hotel when on vacation. While at a family party on Sports Center I watched as the Celtics were declared the favorites for the back to back title repeat after a hot 9-1 start to the season. I remember all of the St. Patty’s Day games where players wore the Green and Gold jerseys. I remember watching Doc Rivers and the team practice on a special TV program while I was in New York City in 2010. All of these memories take me back to the good old days of the Big 3 era in Boston. My team was on top of the world. We were a playoff lock (still are). We were always a threat to win a title, every year. Unfortunately, injuries plagued us and we could never get the 3 titles we thought we would.
My memories will remain. Rajon Rondo’s emergence is upon us. I am looking forward to a new era, which includes up and comer Jeff Green. However, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are the heart and soul of these Boston Celtics. Doc Rivers has cemented himself as the best coach in the NBA these past few years. If the Celtics rebuild, it all vanishes and starts fresh. Regardless, I will always be a Boston Celtics fan. I cannot wait to share these stories with my children in the future. I bleed green.
Check out the video from 2008, where Kevin Garnett achieves his dreams. One of the most touching and inspiring moments in sports history: