Opinion: Celtic Pride alive and well in Boston

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics

 

Whether you’re on the “they’re-better-off-without-Rajon-Rondo” wagon or part of the “talk-to-me-in-a-month” camp, one thing we can all agree on today, right now, in February of 2013, is that the Kevin Garnett-era Celtics are one of the grittiest, more mentally tough units we have ever seen in this city.

This is a team that should have been dead and buried in 2009, when Garnett went down with a knee injury. They should have faded for good in 2010 after losing a Saturday afternoon home game to a pathetic 5-52 New Jersey Nets squad. They should have never denied LeBron James a title in Cleveland that year and they should have never taken his Heat team to seven games last year.

But the Celtics have always had nine basketball lives. Somehow, someway, this franchise has always defied logic.

Ya, the whole “Celtic pride” thing might be a tad corny. And yes, there was little evidence of this mystical force throughout the latter parts of the 1990s and the early years of this century. But it’s truly hard to come up with a more proper word when talking about this current Celtics era and the championship eras gone-by without using that one word. Pride.

The 1987 Celtics are often referenced for playing above their heads, making it all the way back to the Finals that year before bowing to the Lakers. That group was a beaten, battered unit, with Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Danny Ainge and Bill Walton all fighting through injuries (notably McHale with a broken foot) and had no business making a springtime run.

This 2013 team conjures up some memories from that lovable team but it might be more like a C’s team from a few years after the ’87 overachievers. The forgotten 1993 Celtics, truly the last team from that golden Big 3 era, had that pride thing too.

For much different reasons than this year’s squad, that team was absent its best player. Larry Bird had retired the summer prior, so it was up to one certain power forward to lead the Green back to the postseason. McHale, like Garnett, was up to the challenge.

The then-selfless McHale came off the bench that year for the Celtics, allowing the likes of Alaa Abdelnaby to start in his place. No, Abdelnaby never panned out for the C’s. But in a time of major franchise transition, the future Hall-of-Famer allowed the organization to see what it had in the youth department. The young guys needed a chance to play – there just had to be some direction.

That team, led by the likes of Reggie Lewis, Xavier McDaniel, Kevin Gamble, Dee Brown, Sherman Douglas and Parish didn’t make it back to the Finals in ’93. Hell, they weren’t even close, losing to the Larry Johnson/Alonzo Mourning –led Charlotte Hornets in the first round (that was blatant goaltending Kendall Gill!). But that team showed flashes of former greatness and possible future success.

There was a March stretch where the ’93 team won nine games in a row. Fatigue would then set in and they would lose five straight. It was like this for the majority of the season (sound familiar?).

These roller-coaster seasons rarely result in titles, but they are fun to follow.

Twenty years from now, this current Celtics team won’t be known as one of the all-time NBA greats. But they should be recognized as one of the more prideful ones. Let’s agree on that.

 

Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

News

U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.