I asked the staff to weigh in with the memories that stick out the most from this past calendar year and here are the responses that we got. Enjoy!
The emotional highs and lows with the Celtics in 2017 have been plentiful. From the prideful adrenaline rush of Thomas's courageous performance after losing his sister, to the stomach turning disbelief in the moments after the Hayward injury, Celtics fans have been riding a floor-less rollercoaster of feelings these last twelve months. I don't think I've ever felt a year like this as a fan.
Being a cap nerd, my favorite memory of the past year was the endless speculation and then perfect mechanics to orchestrate the Gordon Hayward signing. Everything that went into it was a lot of fun. Discussing how it could and would happen, then seeing it all play out was a cap nerd's dream.
On a personal level, my favorite thing from the past year was Isaiah Thomas' explosion to becoming a superstar. Not only was it enjoyable to watch on a daily basis, but it also got my daughter to love my favorite sport. That is a bond that is permanent now and I'll never forget how it was forged.
The memory that stands out to me from the past year was never supposed to be a sports memory. I was standing at a pool in Disney World and glanced at my phone to find that the Celtics were in deep discussions to trade Isaiah Thomas for Kyrie Irving. So much for picking a "safe" time to take vacation in the offseason. Covering this team never, ever gets boring.
On the court, I would be remiss not to mention all the 4th quarter heroics by Isaiah Thomas and the continual amazement that I felt at the things he could do on the court.
I attended game 2 against the Wizards when Isaiah went for 53 on his sister Chyna’s birthday after going through nearly 10 hours of dental work to repair his lost tooth!
That was easily the best sports experience of my life. The garden was deafening and I lost my voice before the fourth quarter. I’ll always remember how unstoppable IT was that night. He would not be denied, and you could feel that there was definitely something extra in the building. Isaiah became a legend in my eyes that day and I’ll always love that guy, even if he plays with LeBron.
For millennials like myself, Paul Pierce is the greatest Celtic that we've ever known. His final game in Boston will always have a special spot in my memory. From the moment when he walked into the arena decked out in Patriots gear to his iconic 3-pointer as time expired, the entire afternoon was a treat for those who appreciate Pierce's legacy. We won't see a TD Garden crowd chant for an opposing player like that for years to come, and I'm proud of the way that the fans revered him on that day.
This is tough. The Celtics once again taking a step forward in their NBA status by advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals has to be mine. It’s been an important part of the process of rebuilding to this point and had to play at least some role in securing the Gordon Hayward signing (along with Keith’s beloved cap management). So I’ll hand this one to Kelly Olynyk and the unbelievable performance that put the Celtics over the Wizards and into the Cavaliers series.
After a devastating Game Six loss that would’ve positioned itself as one of the most devastating of the last decade if the series went the other way (John Wall’s game-winner and display after), Olynyk had the game we always thought he was capable of somewhere deep inside. Washington let him slip behind the defense a few times, lay in some wide open looks from two feet and suddenly Olynyk was raining down every single shot he took over the top of the defense from outside. On the biggest stage, Olynyk stole a game for the Celts with relentless scoring.
The Olynyk legacy in Boston will end up being one of inconsistency and infamously selecting him over now-MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo, but before he departed he etched “The Kelly Olynyk game” in stone, definitively put Boston on the same court as Cleveland in the East complexion and in some capacity helped the C’s take the next step in the road to contention. Some analysts don’t believe how far you advance matters if you don’t win it all, the Celts have shown over the past few years proving a culture of competing rubs off on others around the league and Al Horford and Hayward are now here thanks in part to the effort of Olynyk. I will not ignored Isaiah Thomas scoring roughly as many points on that night as Olynyk did, but K.O. put it over the top and finally filled out his potential. In a game seven.