This Boston Celtics team has played a number of roles since the Big 3 formed. They were envied when they first got together (setting the blueprint for the Miami Heat a few years later). They were underdogs against the Lakers. They were favorites the next year. Pretty much ever since then they've been respected but disliked by the masses.
So it is pretty odd to see that the world is rallying around the Celtics, rooting for us to win. Though that might have a little something to do with who they are playing for.
It's easy to root for the Celtics when they are going up against the NBA's version of Darth Vader, IRS auditors and fumbling dental surgeons. Pretty much everyone hates the Miami Heat outside of the 305 area code. In addition to playing the underdog role to perfection in the Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics have emerged as something else, something they're not quite accustomed to being: the lovable overachiever.
That the Old Men of Rivers have been able to attract these folks is saying something in these days when Boston teams generally are not loved by the masses. You don’t have to travel far outside our region to know that our teams have taken on a near Yankees quality. Boston’s fans (yeah, you) have gone from long-suffering to, according to the outside narrative, downright insufferable because of championships won by the Red Sox [team stats], Patriots [team stats], Bruins [team stats] and Celtics.
If (knocking furiously on wood) the Celtics manage to vanquish Darth Vader and the boys in black, this new found favored status with the masses will be short lived. We'll be back to being the underdogs but everyone will be rooting for the lovable favorite sons from OKC.
But we'll cross that bridge if and when we come to it. For now, just thank the newcomers on the bandwagon for dropping by and go back to cheering your head off for the team we have stuck by through thick and thin.