The first since internet blogging media era was developed.
A lot of hard work went into making this 2008 Celtics Championship possible. 8 years ago at the hieght of the Pitino dark ages, this was not thought to be possible. The owner, Paul "Thanksdad" Ga$ton was in it to make money for himself and to screw the loyal Celtics fans. He would not exceed the salary cap let alone (god forbid) pay a luxery tax. But he was not a shrewd businessman because he paid out some god awful contracts to god awful players recruited by god awful management. Honestly, go back and reread chapter two of Larry Bird's "On Playing and Coaching the Game I Love" on his experience with Ga$ton and More Losses Carr.
First Ga$ton had to sell the team. He sold it to a dedicated Celtics fan with a lot of money (or more possibly access to a lot of money). His name was Wyc Grousebeck. His managing partner Steve Paglicia knew Danny Ainge and hired him as basketball GM. He made Red Auerbach president again (that was taken away by Pitino). A good first step, but the Celtics lacked the talent needed to become a championship contender. Plus they had no cap room and an albatross of a contract with Vin Baker. Antione Walker was the ringleader of this outfit but he really was nothing special. He was a rah rah competitor type. Danny traded him off to Dallas a draft pick, Raef LaFrentz, Jiri Welsch, Chris Mills (expiring contract). Danny traded Eric Williams and Milt Palacio for Ricky Davis and drove Jim O'Brien to resign. Mark Blount had a career 40 games to lead the 36-46 juggernaut Celtics into the 8th seed and 4 game ass-kicking by Indiana. John Carroll's NBA coaching career was over.
Enter Doc Rivers. Ainge was a brilliant drafter - Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Kendrick Perkins, Tony Allen, Delonte West, Ryan Gomes, Leon Powe, to go along with RD, Blount, and Pierce. Ainge traded Mihm and one other to the Lakers for Gary Payton (last year of contract). Walker, somehow came back to Boston, after not fitting in with Dallas and Atlanta (gee I wonder why). We were all set to make a run at the finals, right? Wrong, our nemesis Indiana won again with a game 7 waxing on our HC.
In 2006, the Celtics couldn't get anything going with Blount, RD, Pierce, West, and Jefferson (out of shape and injured much of the season). RD, Blount, Justin Reed got traded to Minnesota for Wally Baby. That didn't help in the standings but Doc's sanity was saved.
Things had to get better in 2007, Right????? Well the Celtics lost 350 man games to injury and the season was completely lost. The Celtics were playing for lottery balls and the right to draft Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. Surely in 2007 we would have one of the first two picks right????
Well the draft lottery was on May 22, 2007 which was my ex-wifes 50th birthday and she grew up in Portland. My three daughters were born in Seattle. So I knew the Celtics were going to get shafted and get the worst possible pick at 5 and have to draft the Chinese Nowitzki (Chinese Jerome Moiso???). Paul Pierce would get traded and lead his new team to championship, CORRECT?????
And, then Delonte, Wally, and #5 went to Seattle for Ray Allen and BBD on draft night. And a month later on our 5th anniversary get away, the Celtics traded Al J, GG, Gomes, Theo Ratliffe's contract, and god knows every draft pick until 2015 to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett.
Now I felt like I was at least back in the game. Posey, House, PJ Brown, Sam Cassall, and Pollard walked through that door. Rondo and Perkins became vital starters. Tony Allen, BBD, and Powe all played important roles. The Celtics went from a very poor 24 win team to the Route 66 team with the number one seed.
The playoffs proved to be difficult endeavor with a bad matchup in the 1st round against Atlanta who managed to hold HC three times but were not competive in Boston. Cleveland, though, gave Boston a fantastic match where Paul Pierce had the defining moment of his career in Game 7 that brought back memories of that Bird - Dominique show down 20 years earlier. As Boston led by one point in the final minute, there was a jump ball between Perkins and Z. Z had the tip and tapped it toward James when Pierce knocked it away and promptly dove after that ball and clutched in a crowd of Cleveland white shirts. There was The Moment of Truth! I thought this game could have decided the 2008 and I was right. Detriot, was a solid team all year and the past six really if you think about it. But between Ray Allen, KG, and Pierce, Boston wore them down and closed out with a major 4th Qtr beat down in Mo-town.......
Then it was on to the Los Angelos Lakers and that CBS song of spring of 20 years ago kept running through my head bringing back those famous Bird and Magic matchups. It was our obligation to deny Phil Jackson is 10th title as HC and preserve Red Auerbach's legacy. I felt the Lakers were not as strong defensively as what we already had faced. After that Game 2 scare, the Game 3 loss, and starting out in that 45-21 hole in Game 4 (during which there was a tornado warning in my area and reports of a brief touchdown five miles from home), I felt Red Auerbach get very angry as the rain, hail, and wind fell. Well, the Celtics came back to win 96-91 in the Tornadic Comeback Classic and I got to my luck TV set at Larry Bud's Tavern. Finally four nights later, I did my old 1980's ritual of eating a Super Bird at Denny's, hitting a large bucket of golf balls at the driving range, and then going up to Larry Buds for the clincher. I think I had the Victory Cigar in my mouth with four minutes left in the game.
So after twenty two years, which in my case is almost 1/2 a lifetime ago, the Celtics fans finally get their championship they long deserve. Congratulations to us for all the poor decisions, poor luck, and poor refereeing that was seemingly directed by David Stern to screw the Celtics. And the Curse of Len Bias got tamed after only 22 years.