Our first Fan Friday of 2013-14 features Justin- a Celtics fan from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I first encountered Justin through a fantastic website he and his friends run called “Celtics Down Under“. Justin has been following the Celtics since 1988 when he first watched them play. It was in the NBA playoffs vs the Detroit Pistons…
The very first time I ever saw the Boston Celtics play, was a 1988 Eastern Conference Finals game against the Detroit Pistons. If my memory serves me correctly I’m fairly certain it was Game 2.
Back then in Australia, the only way to see the NBA was on ABC’s ‘Game of the Week’ that aired late on a Friday night, usually around 11pm. For reasons untold, they aired the first 3 quarters of the game, and then skipped to the last 2 minutes of the 4th quarter. Any older Aussies reading this will probably have a laugh just thinking about it.What I first loved about the Celtics is that they weren’t the Pistons. For reasons only a young, immature kid could come up with, I had already hated the Pistons before half time. Sure, they could play ball, but I hated them, like a kid hates a bully.
The Celtics seem to evoke many of the values my father instilled in me, not only as a child, but also to this day as an adult: Hard work, courage, loyalty, heart, determination, and a never-say-die attitude. These are the values I believe I saw in those Boston Celtics, and those are the values I still see in the franchise today.
Justin lists Bill Russell, the Celtics legend who’s statue was just unveiled in Boston, as his favorite player of all-time. There are plenty of reasons why many Celtics fans love Russ, and here are Justin’s:
I could go ahead and list the contents of his trophy cabinet and personal NBA accomplishments; however, anyone familiar with William Felton Russell, or at least, the history of the NBA would already have a firm grasp of his achievements individually, and as a team-member. He was the ultimate winner, and the ultimate selfless teammate and leader, doing whatever had to be done to ensure the Boston Celtics would win, and keep winning. His defensive prowess is unrivaled. He altered opponents’ psychological approach to the point they often lost confidence in themselves. His relationship with the great Red Auerbach, and the numerous Celtic legends he played alongside, created the ‘Celtic Pride’ that still strongly exists to this day.
Bill Russell changed not only facets of the way Basketball was played, but through his actions on and off the court, he forced people to change their perception of African-Americans in Sport and African-Americans in general, and held a mirror up to the society he was living in, exposing a lot of hatred, bigotry and ignorance. In the process, he made enemies; he dealt with death threats, vandalism to his home, and the presence of personal danger wherever he went. Yet, Bill Russell never once backed down from his stance, he never shied away from the truth; that we are all equal. He was, and still is, a staunch ambassador for equal rights, and I personally believe that Bill Russell’s courage and fearlessness should be motivation for all people to stand up for the truth. My most prized possession is an authentic autographed Bill Russell Mitchell & Ness jersey.
As far as favorite moments in Celtic history go, Justin recalls the C’s 2007-08 title as his most memorable. Specifically seeing Paul Pierce hoist the Finals MVP trophy over his head:
Seeing Paul Pierce holding up the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award (now, appropriately titled “The Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award”) as the Boston Celtics had just won the 2008 Larry O’Brien trophy. The Celtics had never won a Championship in my entire time following them as a team. Pierce now received the accolades he deserved, and his loyalty to the Celtics, and the Celtics loyalty to Paul, had finally paid off.
I’m always impressed by Celtics fans from the “other side of the world”. Neither getting up at all hours of the night/morning to catch their team playing nor shelling out hard-earned cash to travel to the US deters them. They do whatever it takes to follow and back their Boston Celtics. Thanks to social media, I’ve met some absolutely fantastic folks from all over the world that all share the same common bond-they love the C’s. Thank you to Justin for participating in Fan Friday and here is how he summed up his feelings about being a Celtics fan:
The Celtics mean so much to me, they are like an extended part of my family, and that feeling will never change. I see the way the great people of Boston embrace and love their sports teams, and I like to think I share their passion for the Celtics, as much as I can without ever having seen them play in person, but that is definitely going to happen soon. A trip to Boston in 2014 is planned, until then, it’s all about International League Pass Premium. I read RedsArmy.com everyday, and I have always enjoyed reading the ‘Fan Friday’ pieces. I’m extremely humbled to be given the opportunity to be a part of this great insight into Celtics fans around the world.
I’d like to give a shout out to my teammates over at CelticsDownUnder.com for their friendship, passion and all the moments of fun we have throughout the NBA season.
Thank you all for reading and I’ll be back next week with another edition of “Fan Friday”. -KWAPT