For the first eleven years of my life, the Celtics were a joke. A perennial loser, the franchise was still crushed from the Len Bias and Reggie Lewis tragedies–two events that I was too young to remember. Cheapskate Owner Paul Gaston ignored the fans, Coach Rick Pitino ran the team into the ground, and promising young forward Antoine Walker cared more about wiggling than winning. The proudest franchise in the NBA was being destroyed.
Then Paul Pierce changed everything. In the 2001-’02 season, Pierce became one of the League’s brightest stars and most clutch performers. He transformed the Celtics into a scrappy team with a penchant for big comebacks. In the fourth quarter in a game against the Pacers, he and Antoine began holding up the Pacers’ lead on their fingers, counting it down with every bucket until they were ahead. The Celtics were the ultimate never-say-die team led by the ultimate never-say-die player. Continue reading