By Sammy Newman-Beck
We won…finally and not-surprisingly I am still in shock 3 days later. After 21 years (yes that is my age) of watching the C’s go from good to bad to worse I can finally sit back with a smile on my face. I can finally sit back and unlike the Patriots this year (I am a Giants and Patriots fan by the way) I can relish in the fact that we just won an NBA Championship.
While sitting here in the SLAM offices, far away from the Championship parade that is taking place in my hometown this morning, I have pondered the realities all my fellow Celtics fans and I have suffered throughout the years. No longer do we have to defend our hometown basketball team, no longer do we have to question Danny Ainge’s actions and even though he’s only been in Beantown for one year, no longer do we have to wonder about KG being a winner. For me I couldn’t be happier (well unless I was in Beantown, but that’s besides the point).
According to my father, who grew up in Queens, New York, but has lived in Boston since college, Danny Ainge had it all planned out. According to Mr. Beck, (a former Boston University ball player and Cambridge Rindge and Latin Coach– shouts to Pat Ewing and Rumeal “Meal Ticket” Robinson), Ainge, who is surprisingly very intimidating at a hefty 6’5, knew what he wanted all along and knew how to get it. According to Mr. Beck (who on all accounts knows as much about the game as anyone…except me of course) Ainge knew that acquiring Delonte West, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green was done only to trade them later. According to Mr. Beck, of course Ainge didn’t want to get rid of Al Jefferson, but it was necessary and lastly according to Mr. Beck, Ainge knew that going young was not the actual way to go. After much to my chagrin, maybe Mr. Beck, my father who can’t actually let coaching leave his veins, is right. While I hate to admit it but am glad I can, maybe Ainge isn’t as dumb as everyone thinks.
And please for all you haters out there, don’t try to jump on the Ainge bandwagon now, it’s too late. Where were you when we endured a season including lowly highlights like Gerald Green (who is now officially out of the NBA…hopefully the young talent can do something…the kid is too talented!) winning the dunk contest and the excitement of an occasional Michael Olowokandi sighting. After starting off rough in the playoffs with a 7-game series to the Hawks everyone thought they were done. Everyone that is, except themselves. The Celtics never thought they were done. Not in the pre-season when they actually lost three in a row and not in the first game of the finals when Paul Pierce went down with what looked like a season ending injury and the words “It’s over” came out of my father’s mouth. See…this years Celtics, while criticized for not closing out games, did so when it was necessary. This year’s Celtics went to two seven game series and won every game 7. When they needed the big three to step up, they did and they did so in ways that were far more important than scoring.
See, what is so unique about this year’s team is the unity. Not necessarily the team’s unity, which of course is important, but the unity of a city like Boston. Boston needed this season, just as bad as KG, Paul and Jesus needed their rings. Boston needed a team. And while many will claim the Patriots and Sox as those teams, those who live in Boston know…they can feel it…something is different about this championship; Something about the Celtics winning…something about three superstars sacrificing their stardom for their city…and something about a city rallying around a team that worked harder than any other team in the 21 years that I’ve been on this earth…yes…something is different. And whether you like or hate Boston (and a lot of people do the latter) and what it stands for, you have to sit back and smile, because when a 6’11 All-Star Power Forward is close to completely collapsing while breaking down in tears on national television, or when a bunch of grown men are smiling harder than a 5 year old after McDonalds you have to realize something about this team, these players, and its city are different…something is different, you may not be able to figure out what it is, you may not understand why it is so important, but it is…trust me…it is.