Don’t Hate the Spurs, Hate the Celts

Last week I revealed my strange love affair with the San Antonio Spurs —a team hated by most people outside of the Alamo City for reasons I can’t quite comprehend. So today I’m going to focus on the team I inexplicably despise. Yeah, you might be surprised by this one. It’s none other than the anti-road warriors themselves, the Boston Celtics.

Perhaps my hatred stems from something ingrained deep within my Houston sports DNA: As a kid, I loathed the Celtics for ruining the Rockets’ title hopes in ’81 and ’86. Or maybe I’m just naturally opposed to mega-market teams which get crammed down my throat by the national media hype machine. Whatever the case may be, my hate for Boston’s beloved basketball team has returned.

The strange thing is, on the surface, there’s nothing all that despicable about this Celtics squad. They’re a group of seemingly unselfish guys who play tough, fundamentally sound basketball. In fact, I’ve always liked Kevin Garnett and never really had a problem with Paul Pierce or Ray Allen. So if I don’t mind the Big Three, what’s my problem?

Actually, let’s start right there, because that “Big Three” nickname absolutely, positively has to go. It’s bad enough that this trio was immediately granted a moniker once saved for Boston’s holy trinity of Bird, Parish and McHale. But now that designation isn’t just blasphemous, it’s laughable as well--as anyone who’s watched Ray Allen this postseason can tell you. Yet rest assured we’re still destined to be bombarded by Big Three references as long as Boston remains in the playoffs; this, despite the fact Allen sunk to Luther Head-like levels during the Celtics nail-nibbling Game 7 victory over Cleveland on Sunday.

And I suppose that issue sort of symbolizes the source of my hatred for this particular Boston team. Never before have I seen this much hype for a club which has yet to achieve anything of real importance. They’re like the NBA’s version of Anna Kournikova. Criticize the Spurs all you want, but at least they’ve hung some banners recently (Four in the last nine years, to be exact). Meanwhile, what has this Celtics’ squad done? Besides going winless on the road and allowing a pair of supposedly inferior, overmatched teams to take them the distance, of course. Yet that hasn’t stopped the network execs from inundating the airwaves with KG’s “Wait a second, how many championships has this guy won? Oh that’s right, zero!” Gatorade commercial, or the non-stop hilarity of the Big Three’s visit to Bristol.

Look, I get it. In today’s 24/7/365 multimedia blitz, the hype machine is just a fact of life. The Celtics aren’t the first to be prematurely feted and they certainly won’t be the last. Who knows, maybe they’ll even find the wherewithal to win eight more games and lift the Larry O’Brien trophy in mid-June. But until then, I propose an immediate ban on Big Three references. And, please, for the love of God, absolutely no more ESPN puff pieces featuring former Celtic legends bestowing greatness on members of the current group.

Yep, it’s official: I hate the Celtics again. And you know what? I love it. - Jason Friedman

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