Editor's Note: Please welcome Brendan O'Hare to the CelticsBlog author staff. I think you'll enjoy his writing. - Jeff
My favorite moment of Glen Davis's Boston Celtics timeline had to have been when Kevin Garnett reduced Davis to a blubbering shell of a human being. This may seem like a sadistic and cruel thing to enjoy, but I believe that this was Davis's most important contribution to the Celtics during his tenure. He was a person, with emotions that regular people have (I would have reacted way worse than crying) unlike most of the emotionless robots that make up a majority of the athlete spectrum. Glen Davis plays for the Orlando Magic now, for some reason.
My favorite Delonte West incident (which is what they should be called) is all of them. West's lockout opus was just The Soul of Man Under Socialism with a protagonist and a modern setting. If Davis was the hyper-emotional person, then West was person we all dreamed of being but would never become due to "social standards" and a "fear of anarchy". Delonte West now plays for the Dallas Mavericks, because the Celtics believe Keyon Dooling is the answer.I miss these two guys, and I say that with no sense of irony. This isn't Jim-Gray-fawning-over-LeBron-James-as-he-stabs-a city-in-the-jugular type journalistic love, for you cynics out there. I'm going to miss these two guys because of what they represented, or should I say, what they deviated from. A professional athlete is supposed to be complacent and stone-faced, ready to peddle used cars for the local Chevy dealership. They are supposed to be "nice guys" who do "good deeds" and are "role models".
It's unrealistic to believe that every professional athlete can be a beacon of hope for America's youth, as society doesn't work that way. There are bound to be eccentrics and aberrations, also called weirdos. For some reason, people in the media don't like these people for whatever reason. Whether it's that they don't fit into their perfect archetype of the modern American athlete or what, the oddball athletes are ostracized. Delonte West is called "strange" and Glen Davis is called a "baby" (not in reference to his nickname).
The reason I enjoyed West and Davis is for the same reason that I enjoyed Nate Robinson. It's because they're different, and I know that makes me sound like every guidance counselor in the world. They were interesting people, basically. Sports is boring if you have a team full of robots who haven't had their emotion chips implanted. I'm a diehard Yankees fan, but do you know how unbelievably boring it is to root for them? There's no one that makes you scratch your head, get angry at, then love again like the father of a troubled adolescent.
West and Davis did some dumb things, but these were things you learned to love. It was a part of them, and a part of the Celtics, and you wouldn't have had it any other way. It's nice to have a solid starting five, but I find it more fun to have that bench/fringe player who always looks like he could break into a Tracy Jordan-esque soliloquy or tears. America loves an underdog, and that's not just a slogan for a sports drama. On a team with Kevin Garnett (with whom it sometimes feels like your rooting for a serial killer), Paul Pierce (the perfect role model), Ray Allen (nothing outrageous), and Rajon Rondo (who's best psychological breakdowns apparently happen behind closed doors), you need people who divert from the norm.
Nate Robinson would probably be a bad classic example - 80% of the time you wanted to break your TV when he would constantly end a fast break with a pull-up three - so I'll use Antonie Walker. He was weird in that he was regularly the Celtics second best player, but also the weirdest. He danced hilariously (2nd grade me would attempt this in recreation basketball games, much to the horror of everyone watching), and refused to jump while shooting. Despite his obvious flaws, he was fun to watch, at least to my pre-pubescent self.
I just hope West and Davis are embraced where they are the same way they were in Boston. Well, I don't know if embraced is the right word, so maybe "tolerated" is better. Will Dwight Howard (assuming he stays) ever cause Davis to bawl his eyes out on national TV? I doubt it. Will Mark Cuban put up with West's various idiosyncrasies? If anyone could, maybe it's him. But I could, don't I deserve them?
West and Davis were the opposite of how professional athletes are supposed to be. This made them seem more human, and earned my undying respect, if that matters. The Celtics currently have no one like West and Davis, and as much as I don't want to say this, maybe it makes the Celtics a boring team. Someone needs to step up. Sports are that much better when interesting people are involved, despite the media's best efforts to keep them down.