BOSTON (CBS) – Monday night during halftime, the Golden State Warriors retired Hall of Forward Chris Mullen’s number. Before the Warriors great was introduced, Bay area broadcaster, Greg Papa (you might remember him as the Oakland broadcaster during the “Tuck Game”) handed the microphone to owner Joe Lacob, who has owned the team for two years.
Oakland fans quickly turned on him and began booing Lacob before Mullen and another Warrior great, Rick Barry, had to bail him out.
Warriors fans are often referred to as the “Best Fans” in the NBA, something Mullen and Barry referred to during their time on the microphone.
Fans were upset because of the recent trade of Monta Ellis for the oft-injured Center Andrew Bogat. By the look of it, the team has given up this season for the future and their fans are not happy with it.
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This got me thinking. Has this ever happened to the present Boston ownership and could the fans ever turn on them? Does this mean fans don’t respect the game because it happened during a ceremony?
The natural human response is “what have you done for me lately?” In Golden State’s case, it is nothing. The Celtics are in the opposite boat though; they are holding life in a dingy.
As far as respect goes, you have to earn it before fans trust and believe in you. It may not seem right to boo, especially when someone else is being honored, but didn’t it get the point across? We are talking about it. If it happened in the middle of a game, would it be a story? Probably not.
During the Celtic’s gloomy 2006-07 season, the Los Angeles Lakers came into town during the Greens infamous 18-game losing streak. Fans were chanting MVP each time Kobe Bryant touched the ball. Part of me felt at the time, fans were speaking out against the team tanking it. The Kobe chant was a slap in the ownership’s face and spread across the NBA. Today, my Laker friend Anthony reminds me of that moment every time we talk about the great rivalry.
Before that, one would have to go back to the Paul Gaston/Rick Pitino days to see fans rebel against the franchise.
It’s hard to believe the Celtics are on their way to the playoffs for the seventh time in the last nine years. This has to give the ownership a little more leeway.
The fact remains, if a team doesn’t put a good product on the table and you are paying thousands of dollars each for a season ticket (as this gullible writer does), then why can’t you complain? In this day and age, how many people have disposable income to watch crap on the floor when the cost of living is at an all-time high? A year’s worth of season tickets is a nice down payment on a house or car, or to help pay increased fuel costs.
Most fans around the NBA just want to see a competitive product on the floor. It is special to win a championship, but realistically only one in thirty can do that.
If you buy a product and it doesn’t work, do you just give up and throw it out or do you put pressure on the company to fix or replace it? Most people would complain until they receive some sort of satisfaction.
It’s funny that by not breaking up the Big Three at the trade deadline, the Boston Ownership may have saved face for the time being. This is a likeable ownership group that has made a concerted effort to make the Celtics a legitimate contender every year they have been here.
Though, in the long run, if the Celtics don’t rebuild quickly a similar Golden State-type circumstance may happen here. Let’s just not hope it is during one of the new Big Three’s retirement ceremonies.
How would you protest the Celtics if you were not happy with the product? Do you think it is Kosher to boo? Please email or twitter me a response or post below in the comments section.
Sean “The Captain” McElroy is a Producer at the Sports Hub. He has covered all sports in Boston and traveled the world, but his true passion is the NBA and the Boston Celtics. The Captain has been a C’s season ticket holder for the last 9 years. Email him questions to answer each week at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @seanmcelroy33.