Is Kyrie Irving the most despised former Celtic player of all time?
This never quite felt right
You were handed the keys to the best organization in the NBA. The team was built around your strengths, and catered to your needs. You had the opportunity to shape and mold your legacy in the shadows of all the other greats- Russell, Cousy, Havlicek, Cowens, Bird, Pierce....Irving. It was there for you for the taking. And you squandered it.
I gave you the benefit of the doubt the entire year. "Kyrie is eccentric....He marches to the beat of his own drum....he's a strange guy."
You told the crowd back in October in the pre-season that if "we would have you back, you would be re-signing in Boston." Then you filmed this. Your dad and your words:
You wrote your lines yourself. It was an epic commercial when I saw it. Gave me goosebumps.
The Celtics had present and past guys meet. You were paired with Bob Cousy, the first elite point guard, a winner of 6 titles and an MVP. You addressed him as "Mr Cousy." Bob said to "bring another flag home for us."
You weren't able to do that.
Despite having the two best statistical seasons of your career (shooting percentage, assists, efficiency) you were injured last year when the team went to the conference finals. This year the team was adding you and Hayward back into the mix. What could go wrong?
And this year, you fizzled out vs Milwaukee. Looking like you didn't give a shit the last couple of games.
Is it possible you checked out? You already knew you were going to Brooklyn? Who the hell leaves the Celtics to join the Nets?
You had the chance to become the best offensive guard in Celtics' history. Instead, you'll now vie for the title of most hated Celtic ever, possibly the most despised Boston athlete of all time.
Who is the most despised former Celtic player of all time?
The candidates were ones I was intimately familiar with. Brian Shaw was the maligned point guard who left the Celtics to play in Italy, had to be sued by Boston to come back to join the team, generally yearned to return to California his entire time in Boston and wound up winning multiple titles with the hated Lakers at the turn of the century in a reserve role.
Sorry Dana Barros but I'm starting to think that number is cursed
Bob McAdoo would've been my vote on this for the longest time. He detested Boston: the city, Dave Cowens, the culture. He had nothing but negative things to say about Boston, renergized his career in LAL under the hated Pat Riley and was essentially the anti-Celtic. He spent his entire post-playing coaching career following Riley along to south beach in Miami. Yours truly even worked for a short while with Bob's daughter who confided in me how much he hated it. To paraphrase her:
My dad recently received a publication commemorating his induction into the basketball hall of fame. He appeared on the cover of the magazine but he was in a Celtics' uniform. He said to me "anyone but that damn team" and proceeded to rip up and discard it.
Still angry and still bitter all those years later?
Sidney Wicks and Curtis Rowe both had their spot in dismal Celtics' history and were often mentioned together. Rowe was acquired for fan favorite and the soul of the 76 Celtics, Paul Silas, in a 3 team trade when Red Auerbach couldn't agree to contract terms with Silas. Red thought he was getting someone with the heart of a champion from his success at UCLA with John Wooden
Rowe was a great All American at UCLA and a winner, just like Sidney Wicks. We expect big things from him and from the new front line combination. Curtis is a good percentage shooter and a very active player, a great defensive performer, a good rebounder and overall, a dedicated team player. His team-oriented style should fit in right with the Celtics.
While Wicks laughed, Rowe wound up being remembered most for his awful quote:
Last time I checked there are no Ws or Ls in our paychecks.
They were a couple of locker room cancers.
Back to my letter...
Kyrie, the guy I always thought your game compared most to was Isiah Thomas. Flashy ball-handler, big-time crunch time player. Isiah passed it a touch better and you shot it a bit better. But two of the best handles I've ever seen. A killer out there.
The funny thing is, Isiah hit a similar obstacle during the summer of 1986. The Pistons had just gotten knocked out of the first round by the Atlanta Hawks 3-1. Thomas didn't play particularly well and was receiving criticism. While Isiah was still under contract with Detroit, he didn't hang his head. General manager Jack McCloskey made a great trade acquiring AD; the original AD, Adrian Dantley. That helped solidify his team. It also helped propel Isiah to new heights.
Zeke proceeded to make 4 straight Eastern Conference Finals, 3 straight NBA Finals and win two titles. Tearing our hearts out in 88. And he did it at a time when big men ruled.
Isiah, original AD...AD,Kyrie
You actually had a chance to team with your own AD but were too wishy-washy about giving Boston a clear direction in what you were going to do. It was right there for the taking. Maybe Davis would've helped with the culture. You could have flourished and won a couple of titles yourself, even convinced him to stay long-term. But you decided to go a different route. And Davis has joined the hated enemy.
Maybe I was wrong and you're not cut from the same cloth as Isiah.
Kyrie, I wish you the best. Just remember, the grass isn't always greener on the other side and sometimes, it could even ruin your career. You've officially incited the wrath of all Celtics' fans. That's an enormous burden to carry. Hopefully for your sake, you're ready for it.