Last week I blogged about one one of the things that has been keeping me going during this quarantine is the random NBA Twitter debate questions we're starting to see.
Rank certain guys, eliminate one guy, shit like that. Well I hadn't really seen a good Celtics one so far during this down period so I decided to take matters into my own hands and create the impossible. Listen I'm not happy with these choices, but for this exercise to REALLY work, it has to hurt. I wanted to put Pierce on here, one of the greatest Celtics ever, but that would have been everyone's obvious choice. I wanted to make sure you felt this one if you're a Celtics fan like myself. I've honestly been staring at this picture since I posted that tweet and I honestly don't know what to choose.
Let's just take our time here and really understand what I am asking. The Boston Celtics as you know them today, the greatest and most successful franchise in the history of the NBA, does not exist if you remove even one of these people. Now because I would imagine almost everyone reading this blog wasn't even alive when these legends were doing their thing, here's a quick resume reminder
12x All Star
11x NBA Champion
11x All NBA
4x Rebounding Champ
13x All Star
8x NBA Champion
11x All NBA
8x All Defensive Team
Celtics all time leading scorer/games played
12x All Star
3x NBA Champion
10x All NBA
3x All NBA Defense
2x Finals MVP
9x NBA Champion as coach
Coach Of The Year
Here's the thing I've noticed a lot based on some of the early responses people are giving. The guys like Red/Russell/Bird, those are the big names you think of first when you think of this franchise. A lottttt of people were quick to choose Hondo and part of me thinks that has to do with name recognition. The more I think about it I don't think I can choose a guy who won 8 titles, is their all time leading scorer and played more games as a Celtic than anybody. Hondo IS the Celtics.
Russell is safe. I think we can all agree there. So now that leaves my brain with a decision between Larry Legend and Red? How can anyone possibly decide. Larry Bird literally saved the NBA and was one of the baddest motherfuckers on the planet. He's arguably a top 6-7 player in NBA history. Then there'd Red, who was the one responsible for this entire operation. A guy way ahead of his time, when you think of the idea of Celtics basketball, you're thinking of Red Auerbach.
The more I think about it, I think the answer has to be Red. I don't love it. In fact I hate it. This is an exercise where there truly is no winner. But I feel like you need to roll with the talent here. Who knows if they would have had the same success with a different coach, but as we know the NBA is a players/talent league. Now, if you want to argue that if you remove Red you don't get any of the other three since he found them, well then I don't know what to do. You could argue that 6 of Hondo's 8 titles came while playing with Russell, but it's not like he rode the bench or anything. He was extremely important to those titles as well.
For the sake of this exercise and assuming the other three still become Celtics no matter what, I think you have to go with the non player. It feels wrong, it feels dirty, but don't be mad at me be mad at coronavirus. If we had actual sports to talk about my brain would have never thought of this exercise.
So now I'll ask you. Who are you eliminating?