This Is What The Rivalry Needed

paul pierce kobe bryant

When I was a kid, I didn’t eat peppers.  Not because I tried them and didn’t like them.  But because my dad always ordered his salads and sandwiches without peppers.  I probably didn’t have a pepper until I was in my 20’s… just because all I had ever known was that my dad didn’t like them.

We’ve got good mix of ages here on Red’s Army.  And there are a few of you, like me and Chuck, who see all that green and purple laundry out there and it triggers some sort of visceral response in you.  Yes, the names on the back say Pierce, Garnett, Bryant and Odom.  But the colors say Bird, McHale, Johnson and Worthy.  We love the Celtics and hate the Lakers because of the things that happened when we were young.  The clothesline.  The hook shot in the lane.  Events that were burned in our brains that will never escape. 

But a lot of you hate the Lakers for the same reason I hated peppers:  Because the older folks hated them.  A lot of the Lakers commenters around here lately only hate the Celtics because they know they are supposed to.  But now… they just hate the Celtics.

We heard a lot about how the rivalry was reborn in these finals.  And in a sense, they were, for people like me who see guys in green celebrating and get misty eyed… because it reminds us of the innocence of being all-consumed by trivial sports matters in our youth.  That slow motion replay of Paul Pierce jumping around after Ray Allen’s lay up is now permanently engrained in my memory.  I’ll be recalling it someday (hopefully) as an 80-year-old man rambling on and on about the players in “my day”… along with the memories of the original Big 3. 

But for young Lakers fans last night… that was the moment when the rivalry became real.  It became personal.  The old, grainy highlights of guys in short shorts don’t matter anymore… because last night is when you really started to hate the Celtics.  Young Celtics fans were hit with that dose of Celtics magic that hooked people like me and Chuck when we were your age.  You always said you loved the Celtics… but last night is when you really fell in love.  Its like the moment when you realize the girl you’re dating… and whom you’ve told “I love you” to a million times… is the one you’re going to marry. 

The Celtics-Lakers rivalry needed last night to make sure it lived on as a true rivalry.  Without it, teenagers in LA aren’t hoping to see the Celtics again next year.  Without it, teenagers in Boston aren’t saying “oh yeah… bring it on!  We’ll be there.” 

Last night, the Celtics-Lakers rivalry was truly reborn.

(Getty Images Photo)


9 Responses

  1. Excellent post. You really hit on some great points there. Its the kinda stuff that makes the hair on your arm stand up and you get goosebumps.

    On another note, and I may have not read through all posts/forums etc., but did anyone make any mention of how Van Gundy CALLED THE GAME for the Lakers in the FIRST QUARTER???

    Does anyone remember that? Because he should be shit upon for that call!!!

  2. now all i need is to hear the “i do” from the celtics with a series clinching win

  3. Great Post, lived the moment with my ten year old, just like my dad & I w Hondo in the 70s. F*ck I’m old.

    Matty S. is right that F*cking Hack Van Dumbsh*t called the game in the first quarter and never owned up to it later. He has been an absolute hater through out the play offs. BTW, What the F* ck possible advice does Doc need from his dumb ass. I’ve been saying all through the playoffs, he’s a HACK living in his little brother’s shadow. There’s been plenty of vacancies but I haven’t heard his name come up once.

  4. The series isn’t over no matter how many past-tense verbs you use. The hardest thing to do is to close out a team and it becomes even harder when the best player in the world is on it with a good supporting cast. Your bench: House, Posey, and Powe had their one-time-only miracle games already, I doubt they can do it again. Rondo and Perk are not 100%(maybe thats a good thing considering how things have turned out)

    Still, don’t bust out the parades yet, thats what we did before halftime and look what happened.

  5. Wow, excellent post and I completely agree….

  6. Love the post. This is definitely true in my case. I’m 21, and I wasn’t even alive to have seen the 86 championship. The last time I saw such a great game was the comeback in 2002 against the Nets. Can’t wait to see game five!

  7. I’m only 16 and as a Laker fan, I agree with you when you said , “But for young Lakers fans last night… that was the moment when the rivalry became real.”

  8. fantastic piece. better than anything anybody else has written about that game. kudos!

  9. Anyone notice during Sportscenter on Thursday night after the game Stuart Scott is doing highlights from the game and he asks how to pronounce Leon’s last name in the middle of a Leon highlight? “Is it Poe or Pow?” This is their pointman covering the NBA and he obviously doesn’t know shit about this team. That’s why we should take what the national media says about the Celtics with a grain of salt.

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