My God, the Celtics might actually be good again before I die.
–Me, July 31st, 2007.
I have nothing against the Lakers; in fact, the upside of a Lakers championship would’ve been further vindication of Phil Jackson’s greatness. That said, watching the Celtics destroy the Lakers in record-setting fashion was the perfect end to an extremely entertaining NBA season.
Len Bias overdosing. Larry Bird’s back problems. The mess with Brian Shaw. Reggie Lewis’ death. Pitino banking everything on getting Duncan with the top pick in the draft and then not actually getting the top pick in the draft… Nothing had gone right for the Celtics since the mid-80’s. The clovers and leprechauns did nothing to help. Thank God the Bulls were great in the meantime, otherwise I’d have had no reason to watch basketball.
And then… Danny Ainge somehow turned his first round pick into Ray Allen, and Kevin McHale remembered his old loyalties and sent KG to the Celtics, and POOF! Hope and expectations! Ainge won “Executive of the Year,” but he’d better send half that trophy to McHale.
What a great season. The Rockets had a 22-game winning streak. Chris Paul emerged as a superstar for the Hornets. The Western Conference was tightly contested right up to the end of the regular season, with only seven games separating the top seed from the 8th seed. Teams traded big names in hopes of deep playoff runs (Shaq to the Suns, Kidd to the Mavs, Gasol to the Lakers, Wallace to the Cavaliers). And of course, the Celtics were great again, with the biggest turnaround in league history, one of the biggest comebacks in Finals history, and one of the biggest blowouts in Finals history to run the Lakers right off the parquet floor.
Now go for #18.
Re: Kobe. The kid’s not bad by any stretch. But I think it’s now safe to say that there’s no comparison between him and Jordan. MJ never would have let his team lose that badly on that big a stage. Look it up: MJ’s teams never lost that badly in the playoffs, and certainly not in an elimination game. But Kobe? When he had the chance to add to his own Shaq-less legend, he disappeared for the last three quarters.
The difference is will. Jordan had it, Kobe doesn’t. Not yet, anyways.
Someone made a YouTube video that set some old Fred Astaire clips to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” If you’ve seen Michael’s own video for that song, you now see his inspiration. I submit it for your consideration for two reasons. First, it’s not everyday you see Fred Astaire beat, burn, or kill ten guys in thirty seconds. Second, the lady in the red dress, Cyd Charisse, passed away this week at 86.