If you’re looking for a post about how the Boston Celtics made a mistake by dealing their two best players, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, to the Brooklyn Nets for a $30 million contract and a basket-full of lottery picks, look away. This isn’t the post for you.
When you really break things down, sports is a lot like life. Every team goes through it’s ups and downs and some have glory years and some make mistakes. And like life, all good things in sports must come to an end. Sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s not.
Last night when reports first surfaced that the Celtics were essentially removing the final two pieces of the famed “Big Three”, I felt a little bit of sadness. Whether you like the Celtics or not, you have to admit that the Big Three of Ray Allen, Pierce and Garnett were a ton of fun to watch and, in some ways, blazed a new trail in the NBA.
In the offseason between the 2006-07 and 2007-08 NBA seasons, the Boston Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to complete the Big Three with Paul Pierce. When the move to sign Garnett was made, many believed and predicted that the Celtics would win a championship on the backs of those three players. The only question was how long would it take.
Then, in that famed 2007-08 season, the Boston Celtics dominated the NBA all-season long and finished the regular season with a stellar 66-16 record and finished an incredible 25-games ahead of the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division. While they made the regular season look easy, the Celtics set a record for the most playoff games played in a single playoffs in NBA history with 26.
However, that 26th game was by far the easiest. The Celtics were up one game on the Los Angeles Lakers and were looking to bring Boston it’s first championship since 1986 at home. Behind a 26-point and 14-rebound performance from Kevin Garnett, the Celtics defeated the Lakers to win the NBA Finals Championship. Following the game, Garnett proclaimed those inspirational words that you still see in commercials and on billboards today, “Anything is possible!”
After the season, Kevin Garnett was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, general manager Danny Ainge was named NBA Executive of the Year and Paul Pierce received the NBA Finals MVP award after averaging 21.8 points per game throughout the Finals including a 38-point performance in Game 5.
While the Big Three won just one championship in the five seasons that they were together–Ray Allen left for the Miami Heat prior to the 2012-13 season–they left us with a lifetime of memories. Whether it was a buzzer beating shot or just a hard fought victory, there was never a dull moment when the Celtics took the floor.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and former head coach Doc Rivers. Not very many people expected the magic to last longer than three seasons and they made it two more than that. As Rivers heads to Los Angeles to coach the L.A. Clippers and Pierce and Garnett head to Brooklyn to play with the Nets, they leave a legacy in Boston that can only be matched by the years of Larry Bird.
It’s easy to be upset, Boston, but try not to be. Rather than lose sleep at night at the loss of your famed and loved players, sleep easy with the dreams of the memories that they brought you. Trust in Danny Ainge. He’s got a plan. After all, he was the guy that put the Big Three together in Boston.