Why Isn’t Everyone A Bandwagon Fan?

I am a bandwagon fan… of sorts. And I don’t understand all the rest of you who aren’t. To me, your blind allegiance to a group of people (players) simply because of their geographical location… seems nutty. Many Boston fans scoff at fans of the Lakers, aka “Fakers”. Some members of these two groups actually hate each other. And yet, if you were living not in Boston but in LA, you’d be a Lakers fan! We’re getting real close to the definition of insanity here.

I CHOSE to become a Celtics fan, back when I realized how special this group was. They had the fattest bench in the NBA (Baby, Scal), they weren’t particularly athletic, their PG was some 2nd year kid… but they played with a theretofore unseen dedication to defense and something they called ubuntu. KG was a nutjob you couldn’t help but love. Put it all together and yes, I jumped on the “bandwagon”… early in the 07-08 season. What I don’t understand is why every sports fan doesn’t do this. If you’re going to give your passion, money and energy to a team, it should be for some better reason than the accidental fact that they happen to occupy space in your city.

So what happened this year? In retrospect, this team was always about KG. It was not, as I once thought, Tom Thib who was responsible for their awesome defense. It was KG IMPLEMENTING Thib’s schemes. Tom’s ideas were the easy part. This team needed KG out there taking control, guiding, yelling, giving his energy and passion, in order to succeed. When KG left the floor, something vital left with him.

But that’s not the whole story. There was still enough talent on this team to win, maybe even win it all if it could get past Cleveland.

But two key players threw in the towel once KG left: Paul and Rondo. Rondo followed Paul, so it all starts and ends with Paul Pierce. The slide began at the apex, last year, with his ridiculous declaration after the Finals win that he was the best player on the planet. It ended this year with an ignominious defeat at the hands of a mediocre team. Paul Pierce is far from the best player on the planet. He’s not even in the running. But he was the remaining leader of this team, and when he gave up the rest of the team mostly followed.

When you sleepwalk through whole halves, sometimes through whole games… you’ve given up. When everyone says you’re “gassed”, at every game… you’ve thrown in the towel. How stupid is it to say that these players are “tired”, “gassed”? They’re trained athletes, and they play one ballgame for 40 MINUTES every two days, sometimes three. Are you kidding me? And how can we say the Celtics were more tired than every other team still in the playoffs? Because they played maybe one extra game? A few extra minutes? Are you kidding me? Quit making excuses for the inexcusable.

As a group, this team failed to TRY to win. They lost the heart they once had. Maybe their heart is in KG’s chest, I don’t know. But of the fact that they lost it, I am certain. This is not the team I was drawn to in the winter of 2007. This is a group – led by a self-satisfied, egotistical, aging player – who thought to the end that they were ENTITLED to another title, because after all, they’re “The Boston Celtics”. The “storied” Boston Celtics. How silly. What do all those stories of past accomplishments have to do with THIS TEAM? Nothing, that’s what. The concept is stupid.

Which reminds me: Doc Rivers is a pretty poor coach when it comes to thinking through a game plan and taking opponents by surprise. He’s terrific at getting players motivated and working together. He sucks at everything else. SVG thoroughly outcoached him. Doc’s biggest problem: no imagination. He can’t see beyond the obvious, and is thus predictable and impotent. Nice guy, not too bright. Kind of like the Scarecrow to Paul’s Tin Man… one needs a brain, the other a heart.

Rondo, I think, will go far. But he needs to get away from Paul Pierce. He’s a smart kid, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he realizes this soon and finds his way out of Boston.

Perk is a terrific player and a great guy. If his shoulder holds up, that kid will go far. Reminds of Willis Reed. A lot. Love Perk. Same goes for Eddie, and Steph. Eddie never gives less than 100% effort, and Steph may have started slow, but by the end, he was giving 100% at every opportunity. If only he could have stepped into a more complete team… who knows what he might have accomplished.

Ray Allen is the ultimate pro. Had some bad games, but that happens. He never stopped trying. You have to love Ray Allen, the timeless scoring machine and articulate core brain of this team..

Glen Davis is… well, a Big Baby. While he certainly improved this year, he still struggles to understand his role and know his limitations. And he’s still 30 pounds overweight.

Scal is hard not to like. Knows his role and plays it. But is he really NBA material? He too needs to lose 30 pounds. Maybe then he’d be ready. But at 31, time’s running out for our friend Brian.

I'll miss some of the good guys on this team. But now, just as I chose to become a Celtics fan because of what this team was, I choose to let them go because of what they became. They hit some adversity, and they quit. They got fat and lazy, and worst of all, they lost heart. This is not the team I chose, so now I choose to leave. I think all fans should act this way. But of course, they don’t. Lucky for the team.

I don’t think there will be another ball club like the 07-08 Celtics for a long, long time. Not even the Celtics.

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