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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

17x Champions

Add another championship to Boston's impressive resume. It's hard to believe that this is the first one being raised to the new Boston Garden's rafters. It's even harder to believe that it was the first championship won in Boston since the 1986 NBA title. That's a total of six championships that I remember (seven if you count '86 NBA when I was one year old). All six also came within a period of seven years (February '02 to June '08). That's pretty damn good.

Yes, there's always highs and lows, but it's still great to be a Boston sports fan. At least for me, I love all four major teams in the city and you look for them to give you hope and excitement. If a team falls, then another team picks you up. I still won't forget about the recent Super Bowl, but for the moment I'm happy.

It's funny to think how quickly the Celtics have gone from bums to the most celebrated team in the city. This team did win 24 games last year. Granted they have a completely different team now, but it gives anyone hope that a team can be turned around so quickly. A couple trades and smart free agent pickups can make you a contender overnight. That is what happened to this team and that's why they are the world champions.

Where do they go from here? I don't know for sure, but if they can keep the nucleus I can't see how you can't like them winning next year. It's exciting to be a Celtics fan. And, that is never a bad thing.
Here's a couple quick notes to think about:

- Maybe I'm just a bigger Patriots fan, but this championship still didn't make me forget about the tragic Super Bowl back in February. I realized as the clock went to 0:00 that yet another championship can't make the pain disappear. Like other great losses that the city has suffered, it will be a scar that will never go away.

- On the topic of that Super Bowl, can you imagine if the Pats won? Boston would be home to three of the four major champions in North America right now and until October. It would have easily been the greatest stretch of time in the history of sports. I don't know how you could argue with that statement? A baseball team that swept the World Series and came back from 3-1 to win the pennant. A basketball team that won 66 regular season games and clinched the title by 39 points. Then, a football team that had a perfect 19-0 season. What if... (shaking my head in disappointment)

- It's hard to rate where Paul Pierce ranks among all time Celtics. The franchise is so storied that I truly believe people need to wait for him to retire. Even then, how do you compare him to former legends such as Russell, Bird, Cousy, and Havlicek to name a few? Here's the thing about the Celtics. You can't compare by number of championships. It's a tough call. If I was forced to place him somewhere right now here is how I would do it. There's Bird and Russell. Then, there's Cousy, Havlicek, Sam Jones, Dave Cowens, Kevin McHale, and Paul Pierce in the next category. I don't care what Pierce does, I don't think he could crack Bird/Russell territory.

- I can guarantee you that Pierce, Garnett, and Allen will all have their numbers retired by the team. How do I know this? The Celtics retire everyone's number. Just look at the rafters and I know that the average fan can't name half the numbers up there. If Garnett and Allen play a few more years here and win another championship they'll easily join Pierce up there. Even if they don't, I still like their chances.

- On the topic of Allen, Garnett, and Pierce, many people may want to call them finally the Big Three. Maybe, they are, but to me that will always be only three people: Bird, McHale, and Parish. I love Ray, Kevin, and Paul, but we need to get them a new nickname.

- I still remember when Paul Pierce was drafted. I went to the draft party with my Dad back in '98 at the Garden (then called the Fleet Center) and still remember Rick Pitino coming out and saying the Celtics were drafting Pierce. I hated Pierce in college (I'm a UNC fan), but was ecstatic that he slipped to number ten. I couldn't be happier for a guy. Through everything, he led the team to a title even if it was ten years later. It could be argued that Ray Allen was the MVP of the finals, but it had to go to Pierce. I don't think I need any further explanation. In the words of an old bowling buddy of mine, Paul Pierce is fierce.

- The new Garden will never be the old Garden. It's pointless to even argue that. Though, it's great that the building finally has a moment that it can call it's own. Part of me is glad they lost game five because last night was special. Only if the Bruins would wake up and get with the program.

- As for the celebration, why do people have to destroy property and be violent? It's stupid. Plus, it makes the city and Celtic fans look bad. There's no reason why people can't simply go out and have fun whether it be in a public or private setting. Yet, it never fails that people get arrested. This simply pisses me off and if you're a true fan of the Celtics or any other Boston team (Sox fans are notorious for this), it should piss you off, too. There's absolutely no reason for it.

- If there is a heaven, I can only imagine what Red Auerbach must be thinking. Not only did the Celtics win another title, but they took out the Lakers and Phil Jackson. It would have created a classic Red moment during the trophy presentation. If you don't know what I mean, then I highly suggest you watch the video below, which was also the last time the Celtics defeated the Lakers in the '84 finals.

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