When President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge made the trade that saw the modern face of the franchise and its intense, yet aging Center to the Brooklyn Nets it was met with a great deal of criticism; Both in ways of if it made basketball sense, and if it was the right thing to do from a legacy stand point.
In modern days, it's not often that you get to see a player play for a single team as long as Paul Pierce did. Forcing him away after 14 years long, and perhaps not allowing him to retire a Celtic just didn't seem right. And while Garnett clearly didn't start his career on this team, he sparked a return to prominence for a team that had went through 20 years dwelling in the basement. It sure seemed right that he finished his career off with this team.
Throughout the year it's become abundantly clear that Danny Ainge made the right basketball move. It's inarguable. Garnett and Pierce are clearly on the decline, and while we have to suffer with the endless bickering of 'Angry' Gerald Wallace, the 3 first round picks (and one more right to swap picks) have absolutely been worth it for a team looking to rebuild.
What became clear last night, though, is that Danny Ainge did right by Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. That moment, or series of moments last night exceeds the 'importance' of seeing these players finish their careers on this team. While that would've been nice, perhaps the eventual 'Paul Pierce Night' or 'Kevin Garnett Night' loses sum of its luster after watching a few years of them struggling to make an impact on the court. It sounded great at the time, it might not have been. What was, was letting them go (and perhaps contend), and letting them come back. With great memories and great moments still fresh in our heads and our hearts, we were able to applaud these two great players til our hands couldn't physically go any further. Chant, if we could muster the words out. Give the two players who matter so much in our hearts, the kind of night they absolutely deserved.
Seeing them play their last game or games on the parquet couldn't nearly be as special of a moment as last night. Mostly because, nothing could. You can't outperform perfection.