First of all, is there anything better than one of your favorite teams winning the title on the eve of your birthday? (Yes, there is, I know…work with me!) Growing up the Celtics playing in the NBA Finals was synonymous with my birthday. I thought it would never end, but it did. It’s been a painful stretch being a Celtics fan, where I wondered why I still cheered for them. But then they traded for Ray Allen and that convinced Kevin Garnett to sign off on a trade to Boston and the rest is history.
The Celtics were my first favorite team outside of the football Huskers. Obviously I was a fan of Larry Bird, but came to know and follow Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Gerald Henderson, Cedric Maxwell, Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Bill Walton and many more.
Boston seemed indestructible, especially when they drafted Len Bias who was easily in the Jordan mold. However, when died of a drug overdose it started a decline of the Celtics organization. There would be more tragedy, like the death of Reggie Lewis, and then ineptness set in with the Rick Pitino era.
Many Celtics fan wondered if the team would ever return to glory. We were teased in the 2002 playoffs, but that team crashed back to earth after a miraculous game three win in the Eastern Conference Finals. (Still the most memorable Celtics game I’ve watched.)
I got to the point where I wanted the team to just blow up, in a sense, because they just seemed to recycle in being average. This was the Celtics, the greatest NBA franchise of all time. When they initially had a chance to get Kevin Garnett I was against it because I thought it to be fool’s gold, and I really liked Garnett and didn’t want to see him waste away more years of his career on a losing team. Like I said before, the C’s got Ray Allen and then Garnett. All of a sudden the team looked promising, easily the best team in the Eastern Conference.
I tried not to get too excited, because it was their first year playing together. The season started and they would not be denied. The team dominated during the regular season, even beating up the best teams in the Western Conference. I began to think they would win the title, but then they stumbled early on in the playoffs. I wondered if they were spent from exerting too much effort in the regular season, but they found their groove against Detroit and gave me hope against the Lakers.
And then the Finals started. Deep down I hoped for the Celtics, even though my mind was telling me that it wasn’t probable with the Lakers having the best player in Kobe. Didn’t matter. The Celtics just punked the Lakers every which way, with an emphatic game six victory that had me giddy from the end of the first quarter to the end of the game.
I felt like a kid again with the Celtics victory. I just need some GI Joe figures to be playing with while mixing in some Nintendo. I even had an old friend from childhood, who was a Lakers fan, message me on Facebook a congratulations.
The best? In June of 1976 I was born and the Celtics won the title. In June of 2008 my son Duncan was born and the Celtics won the title. Couple that with the Red Sox being the current champs? Brilliant.
Now, if the Huskers can return to form!