Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Long Time Coming

Usually I don't blog about sports.  I watch them, being married to my wife the sports nut, how could I not?  Some of you probably know I support the local teams: Packers, Brewers, Bucks.  Other, though, may know that I'm a transplanted easterner -- and, even for an artist kid like me -- old sports loyalties never die.  Especially not when you come from metropolitan Boston.

All of which is to say I'm THRILLED almost beyond words by the Celtics' NBA Championship victory tonight.  It's been a long time coming; I've had two kids since the last championship -- and, until tonight, every year was the longest stretch of my life without a Celtics championship.  I grew up in the glory days of Russell, Havlicek, and Bird.  Five years without a championship?  Almost unthinkable.  Twenty-two years -- impossible.  (Well, it should have been, anyway.)  But all that is behind us now.  Now the Celtics are back at the top of the heap where they belong.  And, as I said, I'm thrilled.

But, you know, more than being thrilled for myself or the other fans, I'm thrilled for the new Big Three (though KG doesn't like that nickname).  I'm thrilled for Pierce, Garnett, and Allen because these are guys who have worked their hearts out in the NBA for years--about thirty years combined (maybe more), by my rough estimate.  And they are great guys; upstanding citizens with superb work ethics.  And for all those years, they never got the big prize.  But this year is different. This year is when selflessness and team play and outside shooting ability finally pay off.  I'm especially happy for Ray Allen, who was one of my favorite players when he was with the Bucks.  I always thought he was just the best all-around guy in the league, and how he's got a trophy to prove it.

The great thing about this series against LA is how many Celtics stepped up.  We got amazing minutes from not only the Big Three, but from a lot of our bench players, too.  One of the reasons we won this series was our team was just deeper than the Lakers.  If KG wasn't big, Pierce was, or Allen was, or Rondo was, or Powe was, or Posey was, or House, or ... somebody.  Everybody came to play, and that's why we won.

And beating the Lakers for the championship?  What could be better than that?  Beating the Lakers by 39.  Yeah, that'd definitely be better.

Pierce is a worthy MVP, though I might have given it to Allen; Allen won the Comeback Game for the team, and he shot the lights out in the finals.  Need a 3?  Just get it to Ray.  No surprise he tied the single-game 3-point record and shattered the series record.  Told you, I love the guy.  Damn!  Am I glad he's back on a team I root for!

Hey, I almost forgot to talk about Doc Rivers?  What can I say?  During this series, he out-coached one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game.  Way to go, Doc!  You deserved this one, too.

And the crowd!  Classic Celtic crowd.  In it and on their feet from beginning to end.  See, LA?  This is what fans are supposed to be.


One last thing before I go: Kobe.  Is he the best player in the NBA or even the world?  I don't know; haven't watched enough basketball this year, despite the Celt's resurgence (the Bucks are sucking), I do know this though: WE OWNED HIM THIS SERIES.  I know one other thing, too.  He ain't no Michael Jordan.  No way no how.  Not even close.  He's more Scottie Pippin.  The truly great players make everyone else around them better.  Kobe ain't there -- at least he wasn't in this series.  So let's stop hearing all this talk of him being as good as Jordan.  MJ was and is the best.  Period.  (Bird and Magic a close second.)

But enough about that Jordan wannabe, tonight is about the Celtics.  They played great offense, and even greater defense.  They deserved this win, and I'm happy they have it, not only for them, but all those of us who have been waiting the last 22 years.

The Celts are back!  Deal with it.

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