Friday, May 25, 2007

The AJ Soprano of the NBA


To understand what picking fifth means to Boston fans you have to understand that we are an all or nothing culture in New England. We were loyal to the crown, the British raised taxes on tea, screw them, give us liberty or give us death, and keep it on a license plates for 250 years. On Monday the Yankees won and we were back in the race, on Tuesday the Sox won and it was over baby! On Wednesday the Yanks won and all is lost.

(And what the hell was the Dick-Rod move with the elbow to Pedroia’s stomach to break up the double play? What if an Ump called interference? Didn’t he do enough damage with his “Jerry Seinfeld stealing the marble rye from the old woman” move on Arroyo in ’04. If both he and Roger Clemens are in the lineup shouldn’t the Irish Tenor come out and sing the Denis Leary’s “Asshole” song during the seventh inning stretch. )

See the Celtics were going to pick first because in Boston we don’t understand odds. Bostonians are the people on “Deal or no Deal” who have six cases under $10.00 and one for $100,000 and we know we have the $100,000 case and wouldn’t take a deal for $50,000. Boston had a 19% chance of picking first and an 81% chance of not. If a doctor tells you that you have a 19% chance of living you start spending your money like mad because those damn kids aren’t getting it, but, in Boston, when you have a 19% getting a number one pick, you’re convinced Greg Oden will be playing center and stunned when he’s not.

The consolation prize was Kevin Durant, but God knows what Danny Ainge said to his mother while sitting next to her in the tournament. She could have been telling her son: “You get drafted by that weird white man and you goin’ to Europe for a year. Rock with hieroglyphics on it? That man goin’ to hell and you’re not goin’ with him.”

We could have lived with third, oh, with a great deal of whining. We would have been crushed with the fourth pick. But fifth?

So now we think we’re cursed. It’s been a tough three years without a curse to blame in Boston. Who to name it for? What to call it? Len Bias “The Curse of the Free Basebino?” Reggie Lewis: “The Curse too much Blow-a-rino?” And don’t forget Tim Duncan. Only a couple of teams with the worst record have got the number one pick through the lottery, for those teams, it’s the way it worked out, for Boston? It’s a curse. The rest of the country gets a flat tire? That happens. Someone in New England gets a flat tire. “The Curse of the Michelin Man-ino.”

What Boston fans have to realize is from 1950-1988 the Celts were Vito Corleone. Now we’re AJ Soprano. We can’t even go into the tank correctly. We moan about their problems. We keep going back to Doc even though it doesn’t do them any good. We hang around with a bunch of early 20 something wanna-be’s. Wednesday night Tommy Heinsohn huddled over the #5 card weeping “My baby, what happened to my baby.”

So this is what we’ve become, a team best symbolized by the only Mafia family member that Fredo Corleone would look at and say: “What a pussy.”

It’s another Brando character that best sums up the state of the Celtics, Colonel Kurtz, writing his wife: “Sell Pierce, sell Jefferson, sell the house, the horror, the horror.”

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