The Celtics are down again. Because they are down, and there as of now, isn't an immediate knowing that a return to glory lies ahead - pessimism has once again engulfed large portions of Celtics Nation.
That's too bad.
Despite the team's general success in the Wyc and Danny era, the stench from the terrible times of Gaston, Pitino, Todd Day, and Pervis Ellison still resonate in the minds of Celtics fans.
Want to know the differences from today and yesteryear? For one, I highly recommend reading Larry H. Russell's Fall of the Boston Celtics: How Bad Luck, Bad Decisions Brought the Mighty Celtics Empire to Its Knees and Ushered in the Dark Ages.
Don't worry. The book is free of charge and can be attained here. And if one does want to contribute money to the book, they can certainly pledge money as part of the proceeds go to Michelle's Place for breast cancer research. But other than that, it's free. It's short (190 pages), and the Celtics are out West during Super Bowl bye week. Now's a great time to give it a read.
There are a few things that stand out to me. For one, management then was just so impatient it is absolutely maddening. We knew that to be the case then, but it's on record now. Here are some quotes that LHR attained through an array of exclusive interviews with GMs, coaches, front office staff, players, and fans.
"We were all in. This was not a leisurely, long rebuilding program that was laid out like you see in the league. We were trying to win yesterday," acknowledged Wallace. "There was an internal pressure to move this program along as quickly as possible. We felt that we had enough young players. So that deal was done."
Yikes. All in on a team that won 19 games in a strike-shortened season? Here's another one:
"Right then as an organization, we were all in on the playoffs. We brought back two players who were no question going to help us in the short term," Wallace admitted.
And last but not least, why the team chose to take Denver's pick in 2001 as opposed to waiting a few years when the pick could've been higher:
"A lot of it was immediate need...was it long term thinking? Not at all." -- former Celtics Head Scout, Leo Papile.
Tell me, does that sound like the train of thought as Danny Ainge attempts to rebuild the Celtics of today?
I could go on forever about this book, but I don't want to spoil it for everyone. The book not only covers the entire era of the Celtics infamous "Dark Ages" but it contains exclusive interviews from every GM, coaches, Hall of Fame players, Celtics and opponents, fans, media, team physicians, you name it. Plus there are some interesting storylines as well regarding Pitino and the President's title. M.L. Carr and the '97 Celtics tank.
I truly cannot recommend this book enough. It is eye-opening. And gives some great perspective of what really bad times were. What really poor management was. And why you as a Celtic fan should feel blessed to have the Celtics in the hands they are in now, as opposed to the hands they were in back then.