I’ve watched the Boston Celtics my entire life. I wrote a game-by-game blog during their 2006 season in which they only won 24-games. As I was telling Bekki the other day, I can recite the whole Rick Pitino “Larry Bird, Kevin McHale or Robert Parish aren’t walking through that door. . .” quote from the post game conference from the year 2000 after Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors defeated the Celtics on a freak buzzer beater play. I’ve tasted the ghastly losing that’s come with being a Celtics fan and, finally, just last year, tasted the winning side.
One thing I’ve learned as a Celtics fan from watching the greatest NBA franchise in the span of my life is this: when professional basketball players get the opportunity to wear green and white, it’s a privilege. Although many don’t treat it as one, it is. To be part of such a rich history that’s ensconced in Boston basketball, it truly has to mean a lot to those who care. From Bill Russell’s 11 NBA titles to the Dave Cowen, Paul Silas and Jo Jo White era, to the Larry Bird administration, the Celtics have been to the NBA championship 20 times, and won 17 of the 20 times. They have utterly dominated their rivalry with the Los Anageles Lakers by holding a Finals all-time record of being 9-3 against them (they were 8-0 against the Lakers until the 1985 NBA Finals).
Stephon Marbury has never been a winner. He somewhat cultivated a ‘from rags to riches’ story by going to the NBA, but he failed in Minnesota, New Jersey, Phoenix, and to say he failed in New York would be a colossal understatement. Marbury’s reputation has been tainted repetitively by selfish actions and an ornery attitude and personality. The media despises him (although love to use whatever he says as journalistic fodder) and the fans (at least in the Big Apple) hate him.
So when I heard the news that the Celtics were going to sign Marbury to a deal even though he hadn’t played basketball since the 2007-2008 season, I was perturbed as well as blustery. I’ve never been a fan of Marbury, nor will I ever be a ‘fan’ of the man, even if the Celtics do indeed end up repeating as the champs.
The question remains, however:
Is Stephon Marbury worthy of wearing Celtics green? Can he be the essential member of the bench that will come off the court, NOT turn the ball over, use the 13 to 16 minutes he’ll get in a game and score much-needed buckets? As Hubie Brown has stated, Marbury is a machine when he’s in mint condition, a machine that can score off the dribble at any point.
In other words, I welcome Marbury to the Celtics, but not with any precautions. Marbury is known to be a locker room cancer, but with the leadership prowess that is ever-so prevalent in the Boston Celtics locker room (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen), his ass should be whipped into gear. If not, this will be known as a failure. Look at it this way: the Celtics are taking action and giving Marbury a chance. If anything, the man should be proud to wear Celtics green. If not, then like I said, this is a failure to be.