This is the third piece in our continued look back at the Boston Celtics championship season… in an effort to truly appreciate the efforts of those involved.
I’m… let’s say… “careful” with money.
No, I’m not cheap. But I do need to know that the money is being spent wisely. I mean, you don’t get rich by just giving money away, right?
It’s an attitude that I learned listening to the “Power Brokers” of our society. The Fortune 500 CEO’s. The kind of “rolling in money” people that have enough scratch to pool some money together an maybe buy a sports team.
But some very successful business people have really screwed up running sports franchises (James Dolan anyone?). It takes a rare breed to know that difference. A big-time CEO runs a business without emotion… while owning a team requires it. You need a fan’s passion to run a team… but a CEO’s calculating patience. It’s not easy. Which brings us to this ownership group… which we really couldn’t fully appreciate today without having already told the stories of Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge.
It’s impossible for Danny to do the things we’ve lauded him for without the financial support of this group. Without a willingness to dive into luxury tax territory, there would be no James Posey. There would be no Eddie House. We would have had to make do with a lot of Tony Allen and Gabe Pruitt… or whomever else we claimed off the scrap heap. There would have been no Sam Cassell (who did help, back before he erased that memory in the playoffs) or PJ Brown.
And would there have been a Doc Rivers to appreciate this year if this ownership group didn’t pony up another $5 million to ensure him another chance this year? And early in the playoffs, when Doc went away from Eddie House, there was no pressure from above to put him in. There was no “Hey, we broke the luxury tax for this guy” call made.
Some owners are too loose with the purse strings without caring to hear why money is being spent. Some owners are too stingy, refusing to cross certain thresholds regardless of the possible rewards. But this group will take the calculated risk.
Fans of three of the four major pro sports teams in this town can talk about first-hand what a good owner will do. Sure, some of you might disagree with the dancers and t-shirt cannons. But that’s just the Celtics catching up with the rest of the NBA. But the simple fact is that, with almost no exception, will a team win with a bad owner.
These are local guys with more than the bottom-line at heart. Yes, that plays a role (remember, you don’t get rich giving money away) but these guys realize that sometimes, you also have to spend money to make money. Now that we have celebrated, and bought everything under the sun emblazoned with a Celtics logo and Larry O’Brien Trophy, their investment is paying off… for everyone.
And for that, Wyc Grousbeck, Irv Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca and Robert Epstein (and the Abbey Group), we appreciate the job you’ve done in helping us achieve the ultimate goal… an NBA title.
Herald: Hondo grew into legendary Havlicek | Globe: Pierce on Kimmel tonight | Souza: To the winners go the spoils | Draft Express: Evaluating the draft’s Center crop | Camerato: Who needs the draft the most? | SI: Shaq rap costs him his badge