In Hindsight The Celtics Drafting Joe Forte Over Tony Parker Maybe Wasn't The Best Idea

Tonight Spurs legend Tony Parker will watch as his #9 is raised to the rafters at the AT&T center where he will join Manu and Duncan as some of the greatest players the franchise has ever seen. It always felt weird to me when Parker went to play that one year in CHA, the whole thing didn't look right. I get the Spurs wanted to move on and hand the keys over the Dejounte Murray but Parker will always be a Spur in my mind. What's funny is he almost never was in the first place. Maybe you've heard this story but if not, Tony Parker should have been a Boston Celtic. 

This isn't me just being butthurt over the Celtics not drafting a future Hall Of Famer. It's legit what happened back in 2001

“I remember the lady from the NBA coming to get me,” Parker said. “There was, like, three minutes on the (draft countdown) clock. She came to get me and said, ‘OK, you’re going to be the next one. They’re going to draft you, 19 or 21, something like that.”

Boston was up at No. 21, and Parker had enjoyed one of his best pre-draft workouts for the Celtics.

Then, before he could wrap his head around possibly wearing Celtics green, the “lady from the NBA” returned.

“She came back and said, ‘Oh, no, go back,'” Parker said. “I don’t know what happened.”

You want to know what happened? Red stepped in and changed everything and frankly you could argue he changed NBA history forever. 

The Celtics’ basketball operations department was led in 2001 by Chris Wallace, Boston’s brand-new GM, in charge of a draft for the first time in his career as an NBA executive.

Wallace was ready to pull the trigger on drafting Parker until he was overruled by an 84-year-old basketball legend.

Arnold “Red” Auerbach, who had served as Boston’s coach from 1950 through 1966, then as general manager from 1966 through 1984, remained club president and vice-chairman. The man who celebrated Celtics wins by lighting a victory cigar while still on the team bench remained actively involved in basketball decisions, including the draft, though he resided in Washington, D.C.

It was Auerbach who nixed Parker and insisted that North Carolina shooting guard Joe Forte be the team’s pick at No. 21, a fact confirmed in recent days by several league executives familiar with the Celtics decision on what would become a fateful night for the Spurs.

Red you fool! I love you and everything you did to make the Celtics the greatest franchise in league history but shit man did you swing and miss on that one. Joe Forte. JOE FORTE. Remember him? The point guard out of UNC? Here's a quick look at how his NBA career panned out

Not great! Now we can't assume that Parker would have had the same success on those early 2000 Celtics teams like he did in SA, that wouldn't be fair. As someone who was molded by that era I know how rough they were, but at the same time I think he would have been better than the Tony Delk's and the Mike James's of the world. Does it hurt a little more when you factor in the Celts getting boned in the 1997 Lottery which cost them Tim Duncan? Sure does. The Celts easily could have been the Spurs of the last 20 years had they caught that break and someone had the balls to stand up to Red. Brutal.

As we know Parker developed into one hell of a point guard, his patented floater helped change the game and how point guards play, and as Celtics fans we're forever left with our dicks in our hands simply wondering what could have been. It doesn't help that they gave up on Joe Johnson way too early who they took at 10 in that draft, and then Kendrick Brown and Joe Forte did jack shit. Luckily Danny Ainge wasn't responsible for those picks or we'd never hear the end of it.