Today in Celtics history: Pitino's presser meltdown

Today, March 1st is the 17th anniversary of Rick Pitino's legendary rant:

If you don't know the rant of which I speak, you are probably a younger fan. Pitino, a Massachusetts sports icon from his playing days at UMass-Amherst and early coaching days at Boston University, seemed a natural signing for the Boston Celtics once Pitino rose to prominence at the University of Kentucky.

It went very, very poorly - save for drafting Paul Pierce. Almost nothing else went right, and the Pitino era is widely regarded as one of the primary reasons the club languished in the proverbial "treadmill of mediocrity" as long as they did. Initially ebullient, Pitino's enthusiasm soon soured after his heavy-handed moves failed to recreate the success both he and the organization had become accustomed to. This frustration boiled over in a now-infamous presser where Pitino would let all his disaffection with the situation out in the open, saying:

"Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door, and Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they’re going to be gray and old … I wish we had $90 million under the salary cap. I wish we could buy the world. We can’t; the only thing we can do is work hard, and all the negativity that’s in this town sucks. I’ve been around when Jim Rice was booed. I’ve been around when Yastrzemski was booed. And it stinks. It makes the greatest town, greatest city in the world, lousy."

The writing on the wall was, in this case, a rant. Not even a year later, the Pitino era came to an end with his mid-season resignation.

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