This was something I saw last night on Celtics Reddit but the post seems to be deleted now. I only mention that because I wanted to shoutout the user who first posted the question but now there's no way for me to find their username. If it was you and you're reading this blog, thank you because honestly it's a fantastic quarantine debate topic. We have nothing else to do and honestly even after thinking about it all night and for the better part of this morning I still don't have a definitive answer. If you're an outsider and not really a fan of the Celts, the easy answer is probably Jayson Tatum given his sudden rise. But I don't care about your opinion. If you're someone that lives and breathes this team, whose sole purpose of existence is to watch them play, whose livelihood revolves around them, it is most definitely NOT a clear cut answer.
Every time I think I've landed on my decision I find myself with a "welllllll what about X" and my brain is right back to square one. When you look back over Celtics history it was very clear there was always a definitive "face" of the team for each era. There was was Russell in the 50s-60s, Havlicek in the 70s, Bird in the 80s, Pierce in the late 90s and 2000s, Isaiah during the rebuild era, that other point guard we don't need to talk about, you get the idea. Well things suddenly aren't so clear cut when talking about the 2019-20 Celtics. You could make a case for like 3-4 guys as you try and sort it all out, which is exactly what I did.
I think when Kemba first signed on the dotted line this summer, the idea was he was going to be the face of this franchise. The team needed his electric smile and overall positivity after the disaster that was the 2018-19 season. He's an All Star/All NBA caliber player, just signed a massive max deal, and it's impossible to not love the guy. You come in as pretty much the savior for this next era of Celtics basketball I think that's fair. He instantly backed all that up with an All Star season and by being one of the leaders of this team. If you are leaning Kemba, you're not crazy.
This might be most people's choice. He's young, with every game he inches closer and closer to becoming a legit superstar (he's not there yet so let's all be patient), he's turning into a must watch player as he slices and dices some of the best defenders in the league, Jayson Tatum makes a lot of sense. You add in his ability to ball the fuck out on national TV games and most people might think of Tatum first when it comes to this team. To me though, Tatum has done more to cement himself as the "best" player on this roster as opposed to the "face" of the team. That doesn't always have to be your best player.
Case and point. Marcus Smart. The real ones know. A guy that is the absolute heart and soul of this team and longest tenured Celtic. He's what makes this debate so hard. You could very well think maybe it's Kemba or Jayson, but then someone says "well what about Smart" and it makes you pause. It's hard to not lean Smart when you consider he is everything you think of when you imagine the idea behind Celtics basketball. He's certainly not their best player, but you could argue he's one of their most important. It's hard to not go with the guy who embodies everything it means to be a Celtic right?
Just kidding…..or am I? Tacko fucking owns and might be the team's most popular phenomenon.
Honestly, at this point in time there's no wrong answer. Maybe the best way to describe it is the Celtics are the many faced team. It's not as clear cut as previous eras and I guess that's a good problem to have. So now I'll pass it to you, who would you go with and why?