Remember the Celtics

Joni Mitchell was famous for singing a song titled “Big Yellow Taxi.”  Among the lyrics in the song are “You don’t know what you got ’till its gone.” Why in the world would I open a basketball related post with something that has nothing to do with basketball?  It is simple really.  I have made a distinct effort to catch as many Boston Celtics games as I possibly can so far this season because I don’t want to realize how great I had it as a fan when it is gone.  So much so, that I have made the Boston Celtics a priority in my life. And I promise you, this trend will continue throughout the season, much to the dismay of my girlfriend.

I don’t quite know how to explain this in rational terms because I can be an irrational person.  But I will do my best to try.  Maybe I have a greater appreciation for the Celtics because I have seen what happens when I take things for granted.  Case and point: After the Red Sox won the 2007 World Series, I fully expected them to be contenders for the crown year after year.  I took for granted the successes of 2004 and 2007 thinking that the famous curse was broken and the Sox were infallible.  I don’t need to say anything more about the Sox because we all know they haven’t won a playoff game since 2007.

The New England Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since 2005 after winning 3 in four years.  As Patriot fans we felt it was our God given right to win Super Bowls with Tom Brady as our quarterback.  The New York Giants punched that notion right in the mouth when they beat the Pats in Super Bowl XLII after the Pats put together an undefeated season up until that point.  Since then Bernard Pollard, and the Baltimore Ravens, respectively, have reminded Pats fans not to take anything for granted.

Maybe being a fan of the Red Sox and Pats has made me realize that there is a certain window of opportunity in the life of a franchise that is their golden era.  Maybe I am realizing that for the first time in my lifetime, the time is now for the Celtics.

Maybe I am so into the Celtics this year because, I have been an avid fan since before the Pitino years.  I didn’t have the luxury my brother had of following them during the Bird years.  I didn’t have the luxury of following the Celtics when they had Bill Russell and Bob Cousy running the show like my father did.  I wasn’t around to see Red light a victory cigar at the end of every win.  The only memories I have of Red Auerbach coincide with a time when Dino Radja was the star player, when Sherman Douglas was the point guard in the last games played at the Boston Garden, when Walter McCarty was considered a viable third option to score, and Red was the president of a last place team hoping to win the draft lottery to land Tim Duncan.

Maybe I am so into the Celtics this year because they boast (depending on how Rondo pans out) a lineup where every member of the starting five is Hall of Fame bound and a bench that is better than some starting fives in the NBA.  Maybe I am so into the Celtics this year because last season’s loss in game 7 of the NBA Finals to the rival Lakers left such a bitter taste in my mouth.  Maybe watching them win banner 17 was so fantastic that I want to enjoy banner 18 as well.  Maybe in a way I feel robbed that Kevin Garnett went down with a knee injury that essentially stole a year and a half of his career. Now he is fully healthy and looking great.

Whatever the case may be, I am bleeding green this year more than ever.  The team is playing like a well oiled machine when it wants to.  When they are motivated, the opponents don’t have an ice cube’s chance in hell in competing with this squad. The way these Celtics are playing basketball is poetry in motion.

I urge the casual basketball fan to jump on the wagon now.  There will never be another team like this.  The 2010 Boston Celtics have the deepest roster in memory.  They are beyond fun to watch with Garnett’s unmatched  intensity, Ray’s beautiful jump shot, Pierce closing in on being one of the greatest Boston athletes of all time, Shaq’s presence, and Nate Robinson’s antics.

I don’t want to look ahead to the future.  I want to live in the now because what we have in the Boston Celtics right now, may be the best we have it for years to come. Five Hall of Famers on the same court chasing Banner 18.  I know what I have got right now, and it isn’t gone yet.

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