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For the first time since the megadeal with the Brooklyn Nets that hit the reset button on the Boston Celtics franchise, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will return to their old stomping grounds at the TD Garden.
For the current Celtics players, this means nothing. A majority of the roster (10) never played alongside the two Boston stars. Former Celtics coach Doc Rivers is in L.A., and current coach Brad Stevens was making sure his players at Butler were going to study hall. Of those who did play alongside the Truth and the Big Ticket, Jared Sullinger was away recovering from back surgery most of his rookie season, Jeff Green doesn’t experience emotions, and Rajon Rondo is an a–hole (Kobe’s words, not mine, though I tend to agree) who responded to questions about the return of KG and Pierce by saying, “Have you seen me tear before?”
Unlike the players, who reunited when the two teams played each other in Brooklyn earlier this season, Celtics fans will have their first reunion with two players who delivered the 17th banner to the TD Garden rafters. So while Rondo is a heartless bastard, I will be glued to my television set to see two franchise greats get honored on the parquet floor.
In reality, this is all I have to look forward to as a Boston sports fan. The Patriots suffered a beatdown in the AFC Championship game for the second year in a row, and Tom Brady won’t even humor me by lighting up the Pro Bowl (not that I blame him, joke that it is). Yes, the Red Sox are defending World Series champions. But that’s faded away with spring training fast approaching, yet still far enough away that I can’t quite look forward to another year of baseball. There are the Bruins to latch onto, lighting up the NHL as Stanley Cup contenders once again, but I can’t quite muster up the interest in a full hockey season, and real Bruins fans deserve better than bandwagon freeloaders like me.
As for the Celtics themselves, well, Sunday’s video tributes are probably the highlight of the season, at least until Rondo regains some semblance of his electric, All-Star form on the court. After looking like a surprise contender for the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics have snapped back to reality (oh, there goes gravity) by losing 13 of their last 15 games to become (proud?) owners of the fourth-worst record in the NBA. The draft is even farther off in the distance than the 2014 MLB season, and the lottery crapshoot makes it difficult to look forward to regardless of how miserable the Celtics’ record is/will be.
So while the Celtics will simply be trying to avoid another embarrassing loss, pardon me as I revel in the nostalgia of 2007-2012 (oh how long ago it seems!). Luckily for me, I don’t have to worry about reporters asking me how I feel about Pierce and Garnett coming home to Boston in another team’s uniform, because I won’t have to lie and say, “Have you seen me tear before?”