Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Celtics Nation really does run deep. The Boston Celtics have fan bases all over the world, not just in the New England area.

With the 2019-2020 season in arms reach and a promising roster, Boston Celtics fans are coming out of the wood-works. Everywhere I turn, men, women, boys and girls are sporting their green and white fan gear, and I’m loving it. Yes, I live in New England, where the love of all our sports teams runs deep, but home is not the only place members of Celtics Nation reside.

I’ve always been of the persuasion that our boys in green have one of the largest, if not the largest fan base in the NBA. If you’ve ever watched a Celtics away game, one could argue there were just as many Celtics jerseys in the stands as there were for the home team. At times I could swear the cheering was so loud you would have thought they were at the Garden!

In any case, after my recent vacation in Texas, where I met a fellow fan, Delores, who is a Texas native, approached my husband and I because she spotted the Celtics T-shirt he was wearing.  She struck up a conversation with us about how much she loved the Boston Celtics, and has been a fan for many years.  She was so sweet that she even offered to mail me a Larry Bird cup she collected years ago.  I respectfully denied and told her to hang on to that piece of history.


Deloris and I

After that encounter, it brought me back to my theory that Boston Celtics weren’t just New England’s team, they were America’s team.  This then led me to test my theory out on a wider audience, so I went to Twitter.  I sent out a tweet asking how many Non-New England residents are a part of Celtics Nation. The responses were overwhelming.  Here’s what I asked:  1.  Where are You from?  2.  Why do you love the Celtics? 3.  How long have you been a fan?

The fans in New York said they loved the Cs, “because who would really root for the Knicks?” – Their words, not mine. CA, TN, MN, ID, TX, FL, LA, CO, PA, AL, WI, MI, AR, KY all responded as well, and that’s just here in the United States!  I was blown away after hearing from fans in Puerto Rico, India, Croatia, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Netherlands and England.

Their reasons were as diverse as where they come from.  Their love came from parental influence, to local team stinks. to loving our mascot Lucky. The majority of our out of town brothers and sisters however, loved the Cs for one reason… or rather, one name.  The one and only, Larry Bird.

It’s not hard to even wonder why so many people would be drawn to a player like Bird.  In my humble opinion, there wasn’t another one greater to grace the court as “Larry the Legend”. Magic Johnson said,  “Larry Bird was so good, it was frightening.”  We can talk about the 3 NBA titles he won, his 12 All Star appearances, his two Finals MVP awards, the nine times he was a member of the All NBA first team, and that he was Rookie of the Year.

But lets face it, you could lose an entire day watching highlights of his play.  James Worthy of the LA Lakers said that “I’d much rather guard Michael Jordan than Larry Bird, because when you play Larry, you have to play like a thinker.” That to me is a basketball player.  Anyone can put up shots, but when you are regularly one step ahead of everyone else, you’ve got my attention.

After watching his historic 60 point game in Atlanta on March 12, 1985, one can only bow to the king of the court.  He earned the right to be the trash talker he was known to be.  As a result, all of Boston rode the wave, and the rest of the world jumped on board. It doesn’t matter where I travel in the world, if I’m wearing my Celtics gear, some one will inevitably shout out, “Hey! Celtics! Hey! Larry Bird!”  I love it and quietly thank the legend for making the world a little smaller place and bringing people together with a basketball.

Moving forward, do I see Celtics Nation growing?  Absolutely.  With the help of social media, and national broadcasting, fans are exposed to more players other than their local team.  Leaving last season out of the mix, how can one not get excited about a team full of youngsters nearly knocking LeBron out of the NBA finals?

I’m really looking forward to the impact this year’s roster is going to have.  I think we’re about to see the Boston Celtics become an even bigger phenomenon than we could ever imagine. The way the game of basketball is evolving and the three-point shot being a huge part of the game, it won’t be long before we see the feats of “Larry the Legend” being challenged by current and future Celtics players.

As far as I’m concerned, the Celtics are the greatest franchise in basketball; yesterday, today and for the days to come. Fans expect a lot, and leaving last year out of the mix, they seldom disappoint. As we count down the days to the season opener, all over the world our shamrock shaped hearts are beating with pride and anticipation. I can’t wait for my next road trip to lead me to another fellow fanatic!

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