The following article was originally posted Friday, July 25th on Sports Central.
Maybe I'm just getting soft in my old age.
Back in the day, I vilified players when they left the local teams for greener pastures.
When Ty Law skipped town, he ended up becoming the butt-end of hundreds of "a man's got to feed his family" jokes.
When Johnny "Judas" Damon skipped town for the hated Yankees and a few million extra dollars, he went from the Red Sox' baseball Jesus to the greediest scumbag to ever wear a Red Sox uniform.
And he throws like a girl.
Even class acts like Curtis Martin didn't escape my wrath. Here you had a player who loved playing for Parcells, hated Pete Carroll as much as I did, and reportedly didn't have many friends in New England.
Add that to the fact that he was low-balled by the Patriots during contract negotiations and he had every reason to leave — I just didn't care. I'm a New England Patriots fan, so he became the lowest form of life as soon as he was announced as a New York Jet.
Which brings me to the present.
James Posey was one of my favorite Boston Celtics. He wasn't the best player on the team. He wasn't the best defender on the team. He wasn't the best three-point shooter on the team.
Frankly, there was nothing spectacular about James Posey. Except that he made plays. He was the definition of clutch. The player who remained invisible until the exact moment that you needed something big to happen.
He was the Robert Horry of the 2007-08 Boston Celtics.
The Celtics offered him a fair contract. The Celtics believed, and rightfully so, that a player of his caliber deserved a two-year contract at the mid-level exemption.
Posey believed that he was worth four years.
The Celtics tried to meet him in the middle and offered three, but Posey didn't budge. He made no bones about the fact that he wanted to stay in Boston, but on his own terms. The Celtics made no bones about the fact that they wanted him back, but on their own terms.
In the end, the Hornets were willing to give him the four years he was looking for. He took the money, he took the extra year, and he left Boston to go play with CP3.
I should be angry. If this were the '90s, I would have crucified him. I'd have lumped him in with every other player that did me and the rest of New England wrong.
But for reasons I can't explain, I'm not angry.
James Posey will go down as a key part of the Celtics' 17th championship. He'll always be loved in Boston. He'll come back next season and get a rousing standing ovation. And I'll be right there with the rest of the Celtics' faithful cheering wildly.
It's taken me thirty years to realize this, but sometimes a player can leave a team and there are no bad guys.
Would I have liked to see James Posey on the 2008-09 Celtics? Absolutely. But I'm happy for him that he was able to get the contract he wanted.
I'm happy for the Celtics that they didn't overpay for a crucial but not irreplaceable part of their championship team.
I'm happy that the last memory I'll have of James Posey in a Celtics' uniform is him draining three-pointers against the Lakers in the NBA Finals.
I'm happy that he'll get to play with a great player like CP3. I'm even happy for the city of New Orleans, who just got themselves one heck of a clutch basketball player.
Instead of getting mad at the Celtics for not getting a contract done, or at Posey for jumping to the highest bidder, I'm just grateful that I got to root for him in a Celtics' uniform last year.
Instead of calling him names, I just want to thank him for helping bring banner number 17 to the fake Boston Garden.
Like I said, maybe I'm getting soft in my old age.
Sean Crowe is a Senior Writer and an NFL Community Leader at Bleacher Report. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here.
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