“That’s why they brought me here!” Paul Pierce shouted, after hitting a game-winning three-pointer for the Washington Wizards, making franchise history for my hometown. It felt strange that Pierce was wearing a Wizards uniform. I’d followed Pierce’s career since he was drafted in 1998. I felt much the same about Kevin Garnett wearing a Brooklyn Nets uniform, and an eerie feeling came over me when I saw a youthful Ray Allen announce his retirement from the NBA. It was the dawn of a new day, but I missed the glory days. Let’s rewind…
In 2008, Danny Ainge (President of Basketball Operations), helped the Boston Celtics recruit the right talent to win an NBA championship. Garnett would prove to be the electrifying passionate leader with great defense. Paul Pierce, aka “the truth” (affectionately nicknamed by Shaq), was the clutch shooter known to beat the shot clock buzzer in the final seconds of a game, and Ray Allen was the silent assassin. Allen could drill silky-smooth three-pointers in his opponent’s face without showing any emotion. Together, the "Big Three," along with the help of Rajon Rondo, and Kendrick Perkins was a force to be reckoned with!
Could this team win a championship? Critics were dubious. Yet, on June 17, 2008, the Celtics would answer back when they faced the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA finals. It was much like the glory days of the 80's when Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird battled it out on the court. The sold out TD Garden filled with Boston fans chanted, “Beat LA!” And I was at home shouting the same thing. The night proved to be something very special when the Celtics didn’t just win the series in game six by a slight margin, but they destroyed the Lakers with the final score being a lopsided 131-92. The Big Three made NBA history by winning the 17th championship for the Boston Celtics. Garnett, Pierce, and Allen proudly celebrated the Lombardi trophy, and lit cigars in the spirit Red Auerbach who would have been proud. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant and company walked off the court devastated by the defeat. Of course they would meet again in 2010, and the Lakers would redeem themselves, but on that night, the Celtics made the Lakers lick old wounds from long ago. As for Coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers, and the Celtic team, they had finally muzzled the mouths of naysayers who said Doc was a bad coach, and the “Big Three” was too old.
Today the Celtics have a new roster that doesn’t include any superstars like Pierce, Garnett, and Allen, yet, they play with Celtic pride and heart. In a few years, I’m confident that we’ll be in the NBA finals again, but I’ll always remember the glory days of the “Big Three,” and I’m proud that they’re still making history with their respective teams.
Watch the highlights of the 2008 Celtics Championship by clicking here: Celtics Championship 2008