This week’s featured fan is David aka “Big Dave” from Melbourne, Australia. A friend and fellow Celtics fan from down under introduced me to David. It was clear through my email conversations with Dave that he bleeds green through and through. This is a guy that you want in your section at the Garden when the Celtics are playing the Heat, Knicks or Lakers-someone who will get the crowd fired-up and get in the heads of the opposition.
David, who is 31, first began following the C’s in the early 1990’s:
I first learned about the players on the team starting with Larry Bird, where I watched everything I could on him, then it was Kevin McHale/Robert Parish/Reggie Lewis (RIP). My thirst for knowledge was then focused on the actual franchise, where I learned about the Celtic Mystique, 16 (at the time) championships, Russell Vs. Wilt, Hondo, Cowens, Bird Vs. Magic, and Red Auerbach’s masterful and innovative approach to the game. I was in love. When the basketball started being shown a little more in Australia around ’93 onwards (NBA Action + Game of the week every Saturday), I hung out for any sort of Celtic related news, which unfortunately after Reggie passed, was few and far in between. My love for the game of basketball grew with Barkley’s Suns, Jordan’s Bulls, Olajuwon’s Rockets and Robinson’s Spurs dominating the airwaves, but it didn’t matter though, no matter how terrible the Celtics were in the 90’s, I knew I was a Celtic for life.
It’s always tough for the fans I feature to pick one Celtic as their all-time “favorite”. This was definitely the case with Dave. Although he has a ton of admiration for guys like Russell & Bird, The Truth is his personal fave:
This is an extremely tough decision. Larry Bird was probably responsible for drawing me to the Celtics, but, he is not someone I really got to see in the 80’s when he, and the Celtics were at the top of their game. Bill Russell is the ultimate Celtic, 11 championships in 13 seasons is a feat that we will never see again from anyone in the NBA, not to mention the fact that he broke down the cultural barriers in the NBA and paved the way for all African-Americans in all major sports too…I hold Kevin Garnett close to my heart as he is what a Celtic is all about, his “we not me mentality” is something that still resonates in the team now. Rondo seems to be cut from the same cloth and has a real chance to be the next Celtic great, but, I have to give the nod to my Captain, The Truth, Paul Pierce.He was/is the first true great Celtic that I had the pleasure of watching; from slipping down the draft to us at the 10th pick, being stabbed 11 times and playing 30 days later (and not missing a game that season), to the Indiana playoff game where he got ejected and followed that up with the bizarre press conference through to hoisting Banner #17 and the finals MVP trophy. Underrated by the whole league – and some Celtic fans – the image of him holding up his finals MVP on the scorers table, and him hoisting that banner up as tears poured down his cheeks are two of my fondest memories of the big 3 era. I feel like I was with him throughout his whole journey – and I still hold out hope that he will be back in Green before it is all said and done.
– The Comeback game against the Nets in 2002 – if I didn’t love Paul Pierce already, this is what clinched it for me, I was watching this game live on ESPN, and was close to turning it off, thankfully I didn’t!– The day the Celtics acquired Garnett, completing the Big 3 – it felt awesome knowing that for the first time since I started following them, that we were legit contenders.– Obviously banner #17 – Nothing will match the euphoria I felt watching this game, I took the day off work to watch the game live – extremely glad I did, I nearly cried.– My first Celtic game ever – this is one of my favorites as I finally got to realise my lifelong dream – game 3, Eastern Conference Semi-Final Vs. Miami, LeBron’s first playoff game in Boston with the Heat (Rondo’s elbow game), we wiped the floor with the Heat, KG dominated, Rondo made that courageous comeback and I got to see Shaq’s last basket, to top it off, I had seats right at the Heat’s player entrance, and was caught on TV mocking LeBron after the game!– Paul Pierce 3 point dagger Vs. LeBron in game 5, Eastern Conference Finals in 2012 – I was at a Boston sports bar in Santa Monica in LA at the time – when Pierce hit that shot, the place erupted, great atmosphere, great people.– Game 2, Boston Vs. 76ers, Eastern Conference Semis, games 3 and 4, Celtics Vs. Knicks first round of the playoffs 2013 – I have been blessed to meet a dear friend who was able to get me onto the Garden floor in warm-ups, for the introductions, and to sit court side for a quarter/half in each game, moments I will NEVER forget and will be forever thankful for.
So glad I had the opportunity to interact with David via the ‘net, and hopefully we’ll meet up at the Garden some day. I leave you with his thoughts on just why the Celtics are so important to him. Big thanks to Big Dave for sharing his story, and be sure to follow him on Twitter. Thanks for reading folks, and GO CELTICS! -KWAPT
The thing that drove me to the Celtics is the standard of excellence that they hold themselves to. Division titles don’t mean anything, individual accolades do not mean anything, only championships. This is something that I strive for in my day to day life. Everything that the team stands for, passion, pride, hard work, loyalty, innovation and sacrifice, resonates in my core values of everyday living. To put it simply, being a Celtic isn’t just following a sports team, it is a way of life.
‘What hurts more, the pain of hard work or the pain of regret?’