As I sit here in my college dorm room, out of nowhere, I decided that I should write about the one thing I love the most my life: the Boston Celtics.
There really isn’t any reason to write this blog, but here I am, cracking my knuckles and dipping my pen into the ink that we call the keyboard nowadays. There are many Celtics fans in the world; some diehard, some fair weather. I am the type that will watch every single game as if it were Game 7 of the NBA Finals. This is probably going to be a long blog, I’m not going to lie. You might need a bookmark because I have a lot to say. Sit back, relax, and read about the life of a Celtics fan that you probably have no idea existed.
I grew up in Massachusetts. Lived there my whole life, just about 15 minutes outside of Worcester. Massachusetts is the basketball capital of the world. Back in the day, good ol’ Jimmy Naismith decided to hang the peach baskets up in a Massachusetts gym, gave his players a ball made from the skin of his pet pig, and next thing you know, basketball was made. Point being, basketball in Massachusetts is a big deal, and I wanted nothing more than to be a part of the game.
Growing up, I shared the same dream as every Massachusetts child. I wanted to play for the Boston Celtics. That dream was later shattered into billions of pieces after I saw my best friend get dunked on, with one kid on the other team throwing an alley-oop to his teammate, who then proceeded to windmill it with ease…in the seventh grade. I mean, you should have seen this play. Maybe it was too early in the social media age to go viral, but my friend is lucky that thing was kept off the internet. The dream I was chasing when I was a kid playing NBA scenarios in my head in the driveway every day after school until dinner time can be compared to Kevin dropping the chili in The Office. We both loved something so much, but once my metaphorical chili hit on the ground, it was all over.
The dream quickly shifted away from playing for the Boston Celtics. As of now, I don’t really know what the dream is, but being affiliated with the Celtics in any possible way would be pretty awesome. At 20 years old, I have plenty of Celtics basketball ahead of me. Every season I will watch every game, follow the team obsessively, and stick with my guys through the good and the bad.
When I think back to my earliest Celtics memory, I would say it dates back to 2005. At 7 years old, I was playing NBA Live 2006—the one with D-Wade on the cover. I was scrolling through teams to play as and obviously selected the Celtics. I distinctly remember this moment because I had Wally Sczcerbiak score 100 points. After that one video game, I was convinced that Sczcerbiak was the best basketball player on the planet. I mean, he scored 100 points! More like Wally Chamberlain if you ask me. Looking back to see the first Celtics player I loved averaged a measly 14 PPG, 4 RPG, and 2 APG over his career is a little disheartening, but hey, I was hooked.
Luckily, I was old enough to remember the Big 3. I did not necessarily know who KG and Ray Allen were before coming to Boston because I was 9 and was more focused on my spelling test and what I was going to have for lunch tomorrow than I was on basketball. However, that team sucked me in like a vacuum, and ever since then, I have been obsessed with Celtics basketball. My dad had a Larry Bird DVD that I would watch all the time. I would watch the Celtics’ 1986 NBA playoff games on another DVD set my family owned. For my fifth-grade book report, I read Red Auerbach’s autobiography. Bill Russell, John Havlicek, and Bob Cousy played on the same court as I played on for high school basketball. I wanted to know anything and everything that was Celtics basketball.
(Obviously you can’t tell by this picture, but I swear this is the same gym. Here is the link for proof)
Going back to the Big 3. That team was awesome! No other way to put it. Obviously, the first players that people think of are Pierce, Garnett, and Allen, but that team was filled with players etched in Celtics history. That was the first time Rajon Rondo was introduced to Boston. Kendrick Perkins would play the enforcer role. Tony Allen, Eddie House, Leon Powe, James Posey, Scal, etc., coming off the bench! Even Glen “Big Baby” Davis was relevant to this team.
I remember the night the Celtics won the title in 2008. My brothers and I were allowed to stay up to watch the game even though it was on a school night. We had bottles of sparkling cider to act as our own version of champagne. Next thing you know, KG is screaming “Anything is possible!” and the Celtics were NBA champions.
Then followed the 2009 season, where the Celtics should have gone back-to-back if it weren’t for a KG injury that plagued him throughout the year. In 2010, the Celtics were back in the NBA finals against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. Everyone knows how that went down. LA beat Boston and I went to bed as a sad 11-year-old getting ready to go to school the next day. I am still convinced that if Perk doesn’t go down with an injury, then the Celtics win that championship.
Just as the Big 3 years were winding down, the Celtics took the eventual NBA champion Miami Heat to 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals before being bounced from the playoffs. Ray Allen betrayed Celtics fans everywhere by teaming up with arch-nemesis LeBron James. Next thing you know, Ainge shipped KG and Pierce to Brooklyn and in return stole the Nets’ future. Talk about an all-time bad trade for the Nets. They don’t call him Trader Danny for nothing.
Out goes Doc Rivers and in comes Brad Stevens with a plan to rebuild the team. An unlikely hero in Isaiah Thomas helped this team reach the stardom it once had. After being one of the worst teams in the league, the Celtics selected Marcus Smart in 2014 draft with the 6th pick. They proceeded to get swept by the Cavs and draft Terry Rozier that summer. The following year, the Celtics lose to the Hawks in the first round, and that offseason, two of the biggest names on this current Celtics’ roster were added to the team, Al Horford and Jaylen Brown.
I remember the day Boston drafted Brown. People were calling Ainge and idiot for skipping over Dragan Bender. You know, the guy who isn’t going to be picked up by the team who drafted him. Yup, people were furious. Now, Jaylen is one of the best young players in the league and is only progressing. In Danny we trust.
After a 7-game Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Wizards, where the most unlikely of heroes in Kelly Olynyk helped the Celtics advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cavs yet again sent the Celtics home for the second time in three years.
Heading into the 2017 season, a lot happened. Isaiah Thomas was the biggest thing the Celtics had since 2008 but was later traded for none other than Kyrie Irving. I was never the biggest I.T. fan simply because I knew that this team was not going to go anywhere with him as their number one option. However, to say that he was not an important part in the Celtics climb to the top of the league is absurd. From averaging almost 30 PPG to playing after the death of his sister, to finishing a game he got his tooth knocked out in, I.T. was huge for Boston. I am grateful for his time here, but even more thankful for him being good enough to get Kyrie to Boston.
Earlier that same offseason, Danny Ainge selected Jayson Tatum with the 3rd overall pick after trading away the 1st pick. Imagine how different this team would have been if we kept the pick and drafted Fultz? P.U. Tatum is slowly becoming a star before our eyes and thank God he is wearing Celtics green. Then, on July 4, 2017, Danny Ainge signed free agent Gordon Hayward who missed that season due to that gruesome ankle injury. Looking back, that actually helped the Celtics in the fact that it allowed young guys like Tatum, Brown, and Rozier play valuable regular season and playoff minutes.
That brings us to this season. The Celtics are the favorites to represent the East in the NBA Finals. As a long time fan, I am so excited. Yes, there is no guarantee that they make the Finals, but it would be a disappointment if they do not. I will continue to obsessively follow this team to the ends of the Earth. I constantly tweet. blog, podcast, and talk about them. Being a Celtics fan isn’t a choice—it’s more of a lifestyle. I think it is fair to say that the Celtics are the least followed or least respected team out of the 4 Boston teams. Us Celtics fans are a community, a family, and, most importantly, the best fans in the NBA.
To wrap this novel up, I have to talk about the two voices that I grew up listening to, Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn. How could I not mention Mike and Tommy? I would always yell “Tommy point!’ after one of my teammates hit the ground or did a hustle play simply because that is what Tommy Heinsohn would do. These guys narrated my entire Celtics life and I would not have wanted any other two to do so. If by some random chance they read this, I would like to personally say thank you for making each and every Celtics game even more enjoyable. The addition of Scal does not hurt either. That guy knows basketball and more importantly knows what it is like to be a Boston Celtic.
The future is bright for Boston. I am grateful to be a fan of such a historically great team. If you made it to the end of this article, then good for you, honestly. I don’t really know how many people are even going to read this, so thanks for sticking around. I love the Boston Celtics more than anything in this world. Yes, this season is off to a shaky start, but come April and June, you best believe you will see this team compete for banner 18. Anyways, this is my story. Let’s go Celtics!
Click here to follow me on Twitter @ty_miller35 for more talk about the Celtics throughout the season!