I am an average white guy, and especially so regarding physical talent and ability.  They could have made that movie about white guys not being able to jump about me.  I live in Alabama, a bastion of average whiteness, particularly as skills on the basketball court go (Sir Charles and Gerald Wallace and Robert Horrey [sp?], and a few others, are the Alabama exceptions proving the rule).

I think I may be the only over-fifty white guy in Alabama who loves NBA basketball as much as SEC football.  If there are others, I haven’t found them.  The local watering holes I frequent (i.e., old, average white guy hang-outs) turn the TV channels to baseball after March Madness ends.  The only thing I can imagine as more boring than watching baseball on TV is watching baseball on a barroom TV with no sound.  Unless you have some idea of what is going on, it looks like seven guys standing around scratching their crotch, or spitting, or adjusting their ball cap while watching two guys play pitch and catch with another two observers in different attire standing so close by the path of the ball they run the risk of getting hit.  In all my years as an American, I have never learned to love the American pasttime.  Which is too bad, really, because baseball is inordinately well-suited for its purpose of whiling away long summertime afternoons.  And because I have no love for the sport, just when I need a time-wasting device the most, during those long and miserably hot July and August days, I’ve got nothing to do inside under the air conditioner. 

I root for the Tide during football season, but frankly, college football has gotten a bit boring.  Especially Alabama football.  Relentless winning doesn’t inspire interest like healthy competition.  I root for Alabama football in the fall, but I love the Celtics winter and spring.  The Celtics are the only team with which I have an emotional bond.   And I don’t even know from where the bond arises.   Perhaps because I know football so much better than basketball, I am more analytical than emotional when it comes to football.  Basketball seems something like magic to me sometimes.  Whatever it is, I can say that my attitude toward the Tide would make me at best a luke-warm fan among the faithful.  If I am a fanatic for any team, it is for the Boston Celtics. 

I love Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and everyone else.  I especially love Rajon Rondo, even when he can’t do anything but watch and cheer and coach from the sidelines.  Rajon Rondo has more basketball sense than anyone in the game right now.  And Doc Rivers is the best in the coaching business, bar none. 

I knew the Celtics faced a daunting task.  Without their All-Star point guard, Rajon Rondo, winning even one game against the NY Knicks in their first round playoff series would be difficult.  As much as I hate to admit it, because I really hate the Knicks, the Knicks are pretty good this year.  I started playing real close attention when the series went 3-0 in favor of the Knicks, figuring game four might be my last chance to see these Celtics on the floor.   But they delivered a miracle in overtime.  And a game five.  Which they dominated so far as such a thing was possible with their depleted roster and aging legs.  I don’t hold it against them that game six proved too much.  Like a Shaquille O’Neal Buick commercial, that was way more than I expected.  They slapped the Knicks upside the head when the Knicks showed up in black in game five as if they were going to the Celtic’s funeral.  Like Charles Barkley said, it was a bit much to make that big a deal out of winning a first round series, especially when you’re the second seed and expected to win.  The Celtics humbled the Knicks, and that was enough for me.

I don’t know where things go from here for the Celtics, but if KG and Pierce want to come back, they should be welcomed with open arms.  And I might point out, the only weakness in the Celtics right now is in the front office.  If the Celtics had kept Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson and Big Baby Davis, they might be advancing to face the Pacers right now.  All three are big contributors on the teams for which they play (Thunder, Bulls and Magic, respectively).  It is time now for the Celtics to rebuild, but doing so doesn’t necessitate ditching the heart and soul of the team.  Rebuild a team around the one basketball genius on the roster (Rondo) with his best years left, and use the legacy (Garnett and Pierce) to show the young’uns how things are done in Celtic green.

All I can say to KG and Pierce and Rondo and Rivers and all the rest is thanks.  Like you’ve always done, you delivered to the limits of your ability.  You showed respect for the Green.  KG, as always, you practiced your craft with a fierce, but humble competitiveness rarely matched on or off the court. Pierce, you have ice in your veins.  You guys, and Terry and Green and all the rest this season, represented the Celtics like the winners that the Celtic legacy deserves.  This average white guy in Alabama took great joy in watching you play.  Thanks for the memories.  Go Celtics!

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