The Selling of the Green

Guest Post by the Sports Hayes

You think the New England Patriots are the most hated team in sports? When Bob Kravitz and Gregg Doyel of the Indy Star started their smear campaign against the Patriots following New England's 45-7 dismantling of the Indianapolis Colts, they kept their venom to social media and their local newspapers. Well, Harvey Araton and Filip Bondy took their dislike of the Boston Celtics one step further.

Harvey and Filip both worked for the New York Times. In 1992 they published "The Selling of the Green: The Financial Rise and Moral Decline of the Boston Celtics."  Basically these two New York Timers wrote a book about how mean and nasty the Celtics were. The book has everything negative imaginable. It claims everything from racism, cheating to being big ol' meanies to their beloved New York Knicks.

Most of the quotes saying the Celtics are the biggest heels in the history of sports come from long time ex-players that never won anything because the Celtics were better.  Bob McAdoo claims his reputation was ruined after coming to Boston. Bondy forgot to mention he never wanted to be apart of the Celtics and alienated teammates. One of Bondy's sources was John Y Brown, the man who singlehandedly ruined the Celtics in 1979.  The actual quote Brown gave was "The way it works up there is that whatever goes right, Red did. Whatever goes wrong, the owner did." Well gee....what DID Brown do right? He screwed Red's rebuild project before the 79 season by making the franchise swap with San Diego. The fact Tiny Archibald resurrected his career was more of his own hard work and dedication than any sort of brain matter Brown used to get him. Brown also sent a 1st round pick for Earl Tatum that could have been acquired with a 2nd round pick. He also traded THREE first round picks for Bob McAdoo who the Celtics did not need. Red was able to swap Tatum for Chris Ford who contributed to the 1981 Finals championship and became a coach from 1984 to 1995. He also swapped Bob McAdoo for ML Carr and a first round pick....which was eventually traded for the draft rights to Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. So yeah....Brown deserves no credit and of course Filip Bondy tried to flip it around to make it sound like Red was a big ol' bully.

According to Filip Bondy, the "Kentucky Fried Idiot" was a poor soul bullied by Red Auerbach. To everyone else in the world, Brown was an idiot that Red had to clean up after.

Most of the complaints about how mean and nasty the Celtics were, are trivial at best and get downright ridiculous at points. Filip Bondy actually suggested the Celtics were racist and the 1991 Media Guide was proof, as Robert Parish was the lone black player on the cover. Nevermind the fact that the owners were white, the coaches were white, Red was white, Bird and McHale were white. Reggie Lewis was a hell of a player, Kevin Gamble was great, Dee Brown and Brian Shaw made a great tag team at guard....but when you think the Celtics that era, you think "Big Three". That wasn't racism as it just was who was running and on the team at the time. Bondy even grasped at the tiniest of straws, crying that Joe Kleine was in an advertisement and not Reggie Lewis or Ed Pinckney.

One of the biggest points they tried to make was Auerbach was racist himself, nevermind the fact Walter Brown was verbally attacked for hiring him because Red was Jewish. Bondy and Araton downplayed the Celtics drafting Chuck Cooper, naming Russell head coach and fielding an all-black starting five by saying Red did it for money, not to break down racism. Meanwhile in New York, Sweetwater Clifton was subjected to countless jeers and insults in Madison Square Garden.

Another grasp at straws of racism was Bondy whining that most of the bench players in the 80's were white instead of black. I didn't know Terry Duerod, Charles Bradley, Quinn Buckner, Carlos Clark, David Thirdkill, Darren Daye, Sam Vincent, Dirk Minnifield and Kelvin Upshaw were white. He even goes to say that the Celtics 12th man was always white. According to Filip, Duerod never existed and was a figment of our imagination. He also forgets to mention the Celtics cut their 1st round pick in 1985 (Michael Young of Phi Slamma Jamma) in favor of Carlos Clark, the 4th round pick the year before. Clark isn't white by the way but don't tell Bondy that. In the middle of the book, Bondy and Araton that Boston fans flocked to John Havlicek after his famous steal but have forgotten the black players of that era such as Satch Sanders, Russell, Willie Naulls, Wayne Embry and Sam Jones. A. That's a load of crap and B. That's not a race thing, that's a "today's generation is stupid and doesn't read history" thing.

Another point Bondy and Araton tried to make was that DJ and Tiny were passed over in coaching and broadcasting opportunities due to racism. The book was published in 1992, 4 years later ML Carr would be named not only Celtics head coach, but their defacto general manager as well. No, Carr did a horrible job as coach and GM, but there was nothing racist about it. Carr's assistants during his tenure, DJ and KC Jones.

According to Filip Bondy and Harvey Araton, the Celtics have a history of passing up potential black coaches. Bill Russell, Satch Sanders and KC Jones apparently didn't exist. ML Carr was named coach and GM in 1996.

One of the most comical lines come from a story that the Celtics would play a mind-game by suckering the Knicks into shooting at a specific basket during shoot-around. The Knicks then requested the other basket knowing the Celtics would turn them down, so they could shoot at the basket they wanted all along. "The Knicks giggled to two championships." Oh so they giggled to two championships, what a team! Know how many titles the Knicks won before 1970? The Celtics won 11. Know how many titles the Knicks won after 1973? The Celtics won 6 (5 at the time the book was released). Bondy also forgot the Celtics also won 2 championships in the 70's.

The only two points Bondy made that had any sort of legitimacy was the unfair treatment of Cedric Maxwell in 1985 and Auerbach's comments about Gerald Henderson following his trade. For whatever reason, Auerbach felt betrayed that Maxwell wasn't able to be the beast he was in the 1984 finals a year later. Playing on a bad knee that really never healed, Maxwell was barely used in the 85 Finals against the Lakers. Instead of blaming KC Jones for his refusal to go to the bench (the real reason the Celtics lost in 85), Red blamed Maxwell. Not only was Max traded, he was pretty much removed from Red Auerbach's 1986 autobiography "On and Off The Court" other than a few blurbs. Bondy even threw in a rumor that Auerbach called Maxwell "Steppin Fetchit".  As for Henderson, rather than come out and admit Danny Ainge had better upside (he did, look at Henderson after he left Boston and Ainge's careers; Danny had the better of the two), Auerbach insisted he traded Henderson because he was out of shape. For once I agree with Filip Bondy that the assessment was a crock of hot garbage. Henderson was always in shape, for whatever reason Red just didn't want to admit Ainge was better. Would anyone have cared if Auerbach had said Ainge had better upside than Henderson? Maybe Bondy would have cried racism, but most everyone in the NBA wouldn't.

The Celtics fans were also taken to task, calling them racist, not as sophisticated and several other colorful insults. To be fair, Boston WAS racist for the longest time.

Remember when Dennis Rodman and Isiah Thomas made the ridiculous comment that Larry Bird would have been "just another black guy"? You're not going to be surprised but Bondy and Araton try to bail them out and whine about the treatment they received following making those comments. Even though mostly everyone thought Thomas and Rodman were blowhards (and all evidence in the 28 years since then reveals nothing changed), these two cried racism and unfairness to their treatment.

According to Filip Bondy and Harvey Araton, Isiah Thomas was a misunderstood young man and a victim of racism. According to everyone else in the world, Thomas is a moron.

The bottom line was the book sounded more like sour grapes from a disgruntled New York Knicks fan and players from the era of Celtics dominance crying about losing all the time. When you claim racism that Joe Kleine was in an advertisement in a damn media guide, you pretty much lose all credibility. Now the book was written 25 years ago and a lot has changed since then, but the bottom line was a smear campaign against the Celtics was published. The Celtics were pioneers of equality and Bondy did everything he could to poo-poo that. Instead, it backfired. The Knicks have never won an NBA title after 1973. Excuse me while I giggle at the 17 championship banners currently raised in the Garden.

They hate us cause they ain't us.