(FanFriday returns next week)
Those are the words that I've heard Celtics p.a. announcer Eddie Palladino recite before countless Celtics home games. Unfortunately, we will not hear Eddie say those words again-not for the home team anyway.
As I walked back from my lunchbreak today, the words: "Aaaahh! They traded Perk!" appeared on my cellphone's screen. Immediately, it felt as if I was punched in the stomach. The man who patrolled the paint, intimidated the opposition, got us frustrated with his techs but always played his heart out is now a member of the OKC Thunder.
I first had the chance to meet Perk after a big win against the Cavaliers in 2008. My friend Corey took my sister and I down buy the locker room. Perk came out, picked-up his son first, as he always does, then greeted all his friends and family. Corey introduced us, and Perk smiled, shook our hands, (with his ginormous paw) and then posed for this great pic with us. The angry, scary, fierce guy I saw out on the court was courteous, friendly and very down-to-earth. 100% class act.
I was able to meet Perk a few more times over the last few seasons, and he was always just as cool. Greeting me with a handshake and a hug and always asking "How you doin' man..?" The other members of Ken's family that I had the opportunity to talk with, his wife Vanity, son Lil' Perk and father Kenneth, were a pleasure to meet and simply great people. I really wish them and Kendrick all the best. Ken will take his championship pedigree, intensity and dedication to a young, talented OKC team. I feel he may be just the piece of the puzzle they need.
Before ending this piece, I want to give shouts to 2 highly influential members of Perk's unofficial fam while he was a Celtic. The guys over at PerkIsABeast. Justin & Brian have been behind Perk from day one. Their fantastic coverage of everything Perk is unmatched. And of course, Perk's mentor and teacher while in Boston, Clifford Ray. Cliff defines mentor, and was a staple on the C's staff during most of Perk's tenure. Catch the guys from PerkIsABeast and Clifford on "In the Pivot" each week.
I'll truly miss Perk, and will always root for him. But my heart bleeds green, and I can only hope now that Mr. Ainge and the rest of the Celtics' brass have a plan to finally bring Banner18 to Boston.