Put it in the record books folks, because the 2007-2008 NBA season is over! The Boston Celtics are the champions and they did it in dramatic fashion. Let me start from the beginning...
Kevin Garnett was just a young man with a dream when he ended up being the 5th pick in the first round of the 1995 NBA draft to the Minnesota Timberwolves. I knew him well, the high school phenom from the West Side of Chicago, who made a big name for himself at Farragut Academy, (consequently my father's Alma mater). Yet, he came into the league and quickly became a man. He played hard from day one, he had the drive, discipline and focus of someone much older, and he carried the spirit of the old league.
The following year, the Timberwolves get the 5th pick yet again, and they draft a young star from UCONN named Ray Allen, who basically came into the league a superstar. Having been nationally known in college, appeared in the movie "Blue Chips," and carrying the swagger of a model, Allen was closely watched.
Two years later, a pure shooter from the University of Kansas was picked 10th in the 1998 draft and went straight to Beantown to try to recapture the glory of old.
Over the next decade all three players would struggle in the league and have successes. Garnett stayed much too long in Minnesota showing the world how loyal he was, but also displaying a player with too much talent and humility to leave a situation doomed to fail. Allen would bounce from team to team out west, always contributing but never quite being the right fit. Pierce would emerge as a beast behind the arc, he would team would other hopefuls who fell short, and then somehow fate brought all three of these warriors together.
Now, I will be the first to admit, that in the 80's I couldn't stand the Celtics. They represented the good ole boy team of the start of professional basketball. I was a huge Lakers fan, cheering on Magic, Worthy and Kareem. But today, both teams look dramatically different. After several world wind trades, rumors of trades, contract re-negotiations and perseverance, we received the rematch of the millennium. Lakers/Celtics has so much history, you could feel the nostalgia even with so many new faces. But let's be honest, even with Kobe being the best player in the league, and HE is, that's indisputable. You also had to question the team. Lakers were not the best team, they were just a team with the best player. Tonight, Boston answered loud and clear - they were the BEST TEAM!
My heart is full...I am not jumping on any bandwagon, but I am just plain happy for KG, Pierce and Allen. KG holds a special place in my heart because he has shown so much hard work, humility and perseverance and just flat out deserved it. They outplayed the Lakers pretty much the entire series. They set a record with the largest margin of victory in a Finals game by beating their '65 counterparts. In the end, they brought a massacre to the Boston Garden but completely shutting the Lakers out by 39 points, winning their 17th championship on June 17th, and leaving no doubt that they are indeed CHAMPIONS!