For every rise, there is a fall.
All good things must eventually come to an end. It’s music to a hater’s ears.
For the Boston Celtics, what goes up must come down. Well, except the jerseys and banners that hang from the rafters. Those, like the memories, can stay.
For a Boston hater, and there are many, this latest period of sustained success cannot cease soon enough.
The Celtics are unequivocally the greatest franchise in NBA history and arguably, aside from the New York Yankees, the most storied professional team in American sports. What’s fascinating about teams with such a rich pedigree of success is that there tends to be distinct “eras” that one can point to that define that particular period, with references to memorable games and series but more so, the players who made it happen.
In the 1960s, it was Russell vs. Wilt, Cousy and Auerbach and the unprecedented streak of titles.
In the 1970s, it was Hondo and Heinsohn leading the way for a couple more.
In the 1980s, it was the stable and stellar starting five of Larry Legend, McHale, Dennis, Danny and Double Zero.
And then there is now—or at least the end of it. Which can be summarized in this riveting slideshow by an incredibly gifted columnist.
There’s been a memorable cast of characters, from the homegrown Truth and Rajon to lavish imports Ray and KG, as well as Doc, the coach who somehow survived it all. And while they were not quite a dynasty like those of the '60s or '80s, they weren’t too shabby, either.
However, shabby days may be looming. And it’s awfully hard to find sympathy outside the Inner Harbor. That’s what sustained success does—it creates resentment from those who never get to experience it.
Even now, the actual now, featuring a four-game winning streak that propelled the C's back over .500 and back into the playoff race, is being written off as fool’s gold by some whom many Boston fans simply consider fools.
But perhaps, according to one Celtic in particular, there is not enough hate, at least when it comes to losing, inside the locker room.
But the irrefutable fact is that it’s an aging roster featuring six players 30 or older (and three of those over 35) and no legitimate building blocks outside of Rondo to count on for the future. Combine that with a division featuring teams on the upswing, like the resurgent Knicks and recently revitalized Nets, and the stranglehold that the Celtics have in the Atlantic for so long is fast losing its grip.
Even the struggling Sixers have the benefit of foresight, with a young nucleus and, very soon, tons of cap space to work with.
And could this most recent confrontation be symbolic of a divisional changing of the guard of sorts?
Meanwhile, the combination of old and expensive is not very conducive to sustained success. Just ask the other storied franchise on the other coast how it’s working out.