BOSTON (CBS) — The 2008 Celtics reunion on Monday night was just about everything you could ask for from the gathered group.
Kevin Garnett welcomed Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Glen “Big Baby” Davis to his “Area 21” segment on TNT, reminiscing about their 2008 NBA Championship. Doc Rivers made an appearance via video chat, and gave Pierce a wheelchair as a retirement present.
Rivers and Rondo had some fun talking about their dust ups on the Boston bench (and in the locker room, and away from the court), and Rivers even made light of some comments by Davis, who said he was lucky to still be coaching in the NBA, by telling a story about “Big Baby” gaining weight in training camp.
“It’s impossible to gain weight in training camp. It’s impossible. What we found out was Baby was coming right when the food was served, and then he’d come back an hour later and say, ‘What do we got to eat today?'” Rivers explained, drawing laughter from everyone.
The segment was mostly laughs and looking back at good times, except for the topic of Ray Allen, which remains a touchy subject with his former Celtics teammates.
“Everybody’s asking us, ‘Where’s Ray?’ People don’t understand that this is real life for us,” Garnett said of Allen’s departure for the rival Miami Heat. “The situation with Ray is very sensitive. I think that when we all talked about doing this reunion tour, we were talking about guys who we consider loyal and part of this group. Just being honest, my two cents, when Ray decided to go to the Heat, I felt like he moved on. And he went to pursue another ring, he got another ring, shouts to him. And that’s it. There was no other Wizards, it wasn’t no other Spurs, it wasn’t no other Heat. It was all Celtics invited to this.”
The group all seemed to agree that it wasn’t so much of Allen joining the Heat just a few months after they sent the Celtics home in the postseason, but how it went down. Pierce said it felt like a “sour breakup.”
“I was initially hurt by the whole way everything went down,” said Pierce. “I thought we formed a brotherhood here in Boston. Just how we carried ourselves, not only on the court, but off the court. And I just figured if it was me leaving or KG leaving, then I would have been like, ‘Rondo, Perk, Baby, this is what I’ve been thinking about.’ That’s what I was hurt by, when Ray didn’t at least give us a heads-up about it.
“I just felt like we should have had a conversation. I think it would have settled over a little bit more. I don’t think it would have been as salty,” said Pierce. “Even though it was Miami — we hated them, we hated Miami and that was our rival, we were going at it with them, LeBron and all them. I just think if we had all just kind of talked about it, it would have been a little different than it is now. Now it’s uncomfortable. I haven’t talked to Ray in some years now, and it’s just different.”
“It ain’t what Ray did, it’s how he did it. I feel like that caused the problem,” added Perkins. “It’s not that we thought we formed a family; we did form a family. We all shed tears together, talked about some of the deepest things — I’m talking about outside of basketball that the world don’t know about.
“At the end of the day, you never know, sometimes all it takes is for you to actually see your brother. Who is going to break the ice, you know what I mean? At this point in time I don’t think it’s on anybody here, I think it’s on Ray to break the ice,” said Perkins.
Allen must have heard what his former teammates were saying about him, and responded with a Facebook post on Tuesday morning:
All five of the players eventually departed the Celtics one way or another, and discussed the “culture shock” when they left:
Toucher & Rich listen to the highlights from 2008 Celtics reunion: