I’ve been a fan of the Boston Celtics basketball organization seemingly since birth. It went down like this: I was given a name, got baptized then we went home and watched Larry Bird tapes on VHS. Even with all the history on my side, I still felt like an outcast within my own sports community. Being a Celtics fan, you have to pass a test. You have to prove your a real fan. Basically, you had to have seen some things. My dad can tell stories about Larry Bird in the 80’s and his battles with Magic, he can show me Kevin McHale post moves and talk about watching those games live; my grandpa could tell me about going to finals games at the forum in enemy territory, about seeing Russell, Cousy, Havlicek and Cowens but I didn’t have any of those stories… yet. I had a couple Paul Pierce-led highlights and playoff runs to keep me attached and interested but without a championship, the Celtics of my youth would be forgotten. Then we got Kevin Garnett; then Ray Allen; and suddenly, I had my team: “The Big 3”. All those years of waiting for something to pop were now worth it. We cruised to the championship on June 17, 2008 over our hated rival, The Los Angeles Lakers. Still to this day, it’s one of the best days of my life. Those “Big 3” era Celtics teams will always be near and dear to my heart. It allowed me to pass the test, gave me the street cred I needed. I could now say things like “I saw ’08 when we beat the Lakers”, “I saw the Truth win MVP” and of course “I saw the wheelchair game.” More importantly though, it gave me the feeling. The feeling of ending the NBA season with my team standing alone on the mountaintop. Celtic Pride.
left to right: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford
When I see this iteration of the Celtics in 2018, I feel the same things I felt 10 years ago with that ’08 team. The expectations are the same. These last few years, Celtics fans have been hopeful. We got better and better under Brad Stevens and increased our win total every year but it still didn’t feel like we were ready. The plan was in motion: the young guys were drafted (Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum), the free agents came in (Al Horford and Gordon Hayward) and we cashed in our chips for our superstar, Kyrie Irving. It was a master class in team building orchestrated by Danny Ainge. Now, Celtics fans like myself were changing their attitudes from that of being patient and hopeful to demanding and expecting. You could almost feel it this summer as the anticipation built. We all were watching the workout clips of Brown and Tatum with NBA legends, Gordon Hayward walking (and DUNKING), Kyrie Irving rehabbing his injured knee, Scary Terry signing with Puma, etc. There’s no more planning or gathering assets, this the team we’ve been waiting for and Celtic Nation knows it’s time. Championship or bust. #allabout18. Expectations like that can sometimes sink a team but I’m confident in this group. I’m confident in the coach, the GM and every single player from Kyrie Irving to Guerschon Yabusele. This is our year and I can’t wait to see it happen.
– C’s up til’ infinity