Champagne problems: boycotting the Celtics

By Sterling Pingree

I’ve forgotten how to lose. Lifelong Boston sports fan (putting it mildly) and the travesties and injustices of the days of yore feel like 1,000 years ago after the prosperity that the 21st century has brought forth. After being blessed with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Pedro Martinez, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Zdano Chara you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not as in tuned with the “agony of defeat” as I am with the “thrill of victory.”

I lived through some bad, I was watching in the 90’s, I felt some heartbreak. Aaron Boone almost killed me back in 2003, seriously, my friends had to come check on my two days later because I wouldn’t return anybody’s calls. (I wound up writing my college essays about the experience. I’m glad I got into college but I pray that this essay never sees the light of day. Stephen King would’ve said this thing might’ve been a little too dark.) I’m happy that I grew up in the age that I did, if I were any younger I’d have zero perspective on how gilded these golden years really are and that’d be a shame. The problem is, I no longer expect anything bad to happen.

This past week on The Drive, I announced to Bob Ryan and everybody that I am boycotting the Celtics for the rest of the regular season. I was in attendance at the TD Garden Sunday night for the loss to San Antonio. Less than 2 minutes into the game, I proclaimed to anybody who would listen (which wasn’t many, but enough) that LaMarcus Aldridge was going to score 40 points. I was off by 8, Aldridge scored 48 points. The Celtics looked disorganized, disinterested and at one point I’m pretty sure they thought the game was being played with a running clock.

The C’s jacked up shots as quickly and as off balanced as possible, while San Antonio, who is much less talented on paper than the Celtics, worked the ball around and seemingly passed up two good shots per possession in favor of one GREAT shot. The game was never really in doubt.

But the NBA has a problem as a whole and that’s with so many teams tanking and so many others trying to get healthy for the 2 month slog that is the NBA playoffs, the final 20 games of the regular season is essentially unwatchable.

Hence the boycott. If they’re not going to put out any effort, then neither am I. Why should I? There is so much other great sports going on right now, why should I watch NBA games where teams are trying to lose on purpose so they can draft Zion Williamson, when I can just flip channels and watch Zion Williamson? (By the way, Zion is the greatest force of nature college basketball has seen since Shaquille O’Neal. Change my mind.)

I’ll be back on board for the playoffs, where I believe effort is still given. But I’ll tell you one thing, if after the rocky season this loaded Celtics team has had, if they are able to get on a roll to the Finals, I think it’s ultimately a bad thing for my fandom. Why would I follow a sports from October through June, when the only thing that matters is what happens mid-April through mid-June? I used to contend that the NBA should shorten the season and start on Christmas each year. Now I think it should just be a giant open 3 month playoff tournament and say to hell with this regular season charade all together.

Sterling PIngree (@SterlingPingree on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.