I believe that the 2007-2008 Boston Celtics are the greatest team of all time. I believe this not just because Danny Ainge masterfully put together a team of great balance and skill; not just because of the fact that three superstars found themselves wearing Celtic Green; and not just because I’m from Boston. No, I believe that these Boston Celtics were champions because, simply, they were the embodiment of what it means to be a team.
I can remember sports analysts saying that having three all-stars on one team would cause ego problems and disrupt team chemistry, but I think the 14-0 start to the season silenced those critics fairly quick. From day one head coach Doc Rivers instilled a belief in Ubuntu in his players, meaning collective success over individual achievement, and needless to say every player, from Kevin Garnett to Brian Scalabrine, took Ubuntu to heart. How else could the player points per game averages be explained? No one on the Celtics averaged more than 20 point a night which is crazy seeing how each member of the “Boston Three-Party” averaged more than that since their first years in the league. Because they embraced Ubuntu they always shared the ball, getting it to the player with the best opportunity to score and with the best opportunity to help the team succeed. It wasn’t because of the players’ ability to pass the basketball it was their willingness to that made them special.
Team members believed and trusted one another, something that can only come from witnessing, day-in and day-out, hard work. They had so much confidence in their teammates that when the final minutes of the fourth quarter were ticking down there was no single person who always took the big shots. Of course I recall Ray Allen hitting some big 3’s as expected, but I also remember PJ Brown’s baseline jumper in the playoffs, Big Baby’s 4th quarter onslaught at the Palace of Auburn Hills, and the combination of Posey’s and Eddie’s jumpers that completed the comeback in game 4 of the finals.
What inspired these Celtics to play the way they did? A common goal and the shared realization that with the unbelievable personnel they had, they may never have a better chance at winning a championship. Although the Big Three would be together for a few more years, they and the rest of the team knew that they didn’t want to wait. In the words of Kevin Garnett on Jimmy Kimmel Live, “We wanted to get it while it was hot…and we did”.
Through times of success, like the sweep of the Texas Triangle, and times of difficulty, like game 7 versus the Cavs, the Boston Celtics stayed true to their philosophy of Ubuntu proving that a twelve man roster can never beat a single, unified team. And for that reason and that reason alone I believe that these Celtics made up the greatest team to ever exist, and nothing will convince me otherwise.
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