I hope Boston Celtics fans aren’t proud of the product they see on the floor every night. In fact, I hope deep down they are ashamed.
I say this as a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, of course, so let me get it out there right away. I understand that fans of other teams might hate mine.
LeBron can come off as annoying, Anderson Varejo must drive people crazy and I know Shaquille O’Neal has rubbed tons of players the wrong way. Carrying a bias for my guys and disliking others is part of fandom.
But the time has come to recognize that the Boston Celtics have been living beyond this line for years.
Any NBA fan who saw the Glen “Big Baby” Davis try to twist Shaq’s injured thumb during the Celtics Cavs game on TNT last Thursday should despise the Celtics and the Culture of Jerk they embody.
The actual injury wasn’t a big deal. Shaq was injured in a basketball play when Big Baby’s paw raked across his hand during a shot attempt. We shouldn’t have a problem with that part.
But Big Baby was caught on tape a few minutes later trying to aggravate the injury away from the action, by twisting Shaq's thumb as they posted each other up. That goes beyond gamesmanship.
It’s just plain dirty.
But sadly, we really shouldn’t be surprised. The Celtics have been collecting and grooming bad people for a while now.
The difference in how they and the Cavs view the world can be summed in how they approached last year’s trading deadline.
The Cavs and Celtics were atop the standing and looking for to enhance their rosters by adding recently released players. The Cavs chose Joe Smith, a nice-guy veteran professional. The Celtics chose Stephon Marbury, a self-centered headcase who had been banished from the Knicks for his conduct.
In short, the Cavs value nice people, while the Celtics value jerks. Let’s take a closer look at the fine men the Celtics have given their fans to cheer for:
OK he actually is a fine man. I have no problem with him and nobody else should either. He is a team player and a professional who shouldn’t be lumped together with the rest. Sadly that’s all.
The Sheriff of JerkTown. Being intense and passionate is one thing, but being acting tough for show is quite another. Garnett is an over-actor who picks on guys who aren't his own size. He couldn’t cut it as the number one option in his early years, so once he was traded to the Celtics, he used his new teammate's support as a platform to act like a jerk and pick on opponents’ roll-players.
Has he ever gotten in Shaq’s face or Ben Wallace’s or Jermaine O’Neal’s or Dwight Howard’s face? No. Did he get in Jose Caledron’s? Yes. Being a bully is what he is all about.
Master of the Sad Bear Loser Face . Pierce is still so scarred from a decade of losing basketball in Beantown that this sheepish, defeated look is permanently fixed on his face.
Again, I realize there are people out there who can’t stand the calls LeBron gets and think he hams up contact in the playoffs—I get that. But it’s Pierce who missed his calling as an actor / soccer player in the 2008 playoffs .
Don’t play that role and pretend to be a warrior at the end of the day. Remember, nobody wanted off their team worse than Pierce wanted off the 2006 Celtics. Now he’s part of a winner and that all goes away.
You can be a champion and still be a punk. The worst thing you’ll find on YouTube of LeBron James is his refusal to shake hands with the Orlando Magic after they eliminated the Cavs in the playoffs last year. I’ll take that as the worst thing my player does any day, I mean it’s not like he flashes gang signs when he’s losing.
Again, as a Cavs fan I reserve a special place in my heart for Rasheed. I am not saying that any of these guys aren’t great players, but Rasheed‘s reputation stands for itself and it makes perfect sense that Celtics picked him this off-season to compliment their jerk-laden roster.
Wallace has been ejected from 30 games in his career. He set the NBA record for most technical fouls in a season, twice and if you look up that stat today, you’ll notice he sits atop the league again (despite no longer starting). You’ll also notice that Celtics teammate Kendrick Perkins is third.
Cant’ really fault him for going with the crowd and Garnett and Co have set quite the example for him. None—the—less, he is a great player who stands to ruin his reputation if he continues to play dirty. If you turn your back on him, he’ll slap you silly . He’s better than that.
Like Rondo, Perkins might have had a chance had he come up with a different crowd. Instead, he gets unraveled easily and wouldn’t be half the player he is now without the players around him. He has even adopted the Sad Bear Face Paul Pierce patented: “Maybe if I look as ugly and pathetic as possible, the refs will pity me.” Perkins is currently third in the league in technical fouls assessed.
Glen “Big Baby” Davis
Originally nicknamed Baby Shaq at LSU, his nickname morphed once he got to the NBA for a reason. You might remember seeing him cry on the sidelines after the Sheriff yelled at him. We can now add attempting to exacerbate Shaq’s injury to his jacket, which also features him getting suspended for fighting with a friend in the off-season and knocking over a little kid after hitting a game winning shot. Nice.