A commenter today asked me why I never started an All-Star campaign for the Boston Celtics. The answer to that question is easy — the All-Star game’s the last thing I care about. This season’s not about Rajon Rondo starting rather than Derrick Rose, or Kevin Garnett starting instead of Amare Stoudemire. It’s about a championship, folks, and only a championship.
It doesn’t phase me that no Celtics will start in the All-Star game. In fact, I kind of love it. In a strange way, it validates everything the Celtics stand for. They don’t have a single All-Star starter, but they still hold the East’s best record. They don’t have a single true MVP candidate, but they’re one of the two or three favorites to win a title.
The way the Celtics play, the team is valued far more than the individual. Which is why, since the Big Three came together in the summer of 2007, only one Celtic has ever averaged 20 ppg — and that was just barely, when Pierce averaged 20.5 pgg in ’08-’09 (which was the year KG missed a whole slew of games). Nobody forces shots. Nobody becomes selfish. Nobody gives a damn about who scores the buckets, or who grabs the rebounds, or any other stat. As Kevin Garnett said yesterday, “I’m more into letters, than numbers.” In other words, all KG wants is a ‘W’. It doesn’t matter how that ‘W’ comes. And his teammates echo that mentality.
As a fan, you can care about who starts the All-Star game. You can care that Rondo got beaten out by Rose, or whichever other Celtic you feel deserved to start. Personally, I don’t think any deserved to. But, really, it doesn’t matter either way. Quick, name last year’s All-Star starters. (*Waiting.*) (*Still waiting.*) No? Don’t worry, I can’t name them either. The only one I remember is Allen Iverson, and that’s only because his inclusion on the team was such a monstrosity. I assume Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard also started, but I’m far from positive. And I couldn’t begin to tell you who started in the West, although I assume Kobe did.
Now, name last year’s NBA champion. It probably makes you want to puke, but you remember. At the end of the year, when it’s all said and done, people don’t remember who starts the All-Star Game; they remember the NBA champion. And championships aren’t won in a meaningless ballot in February. They’re won on the court in June.
Next time you care about no Celtics being named All-Star starters, think first about the team’s mentality. Or, more specifically, the team’s team-first mentality. Then, realize that individual accolades mean nothing to this team. Kendrick Perkins recently spoke about the minutes crunch in the frontcourt, and about how he and Shaq will have to split minutes. “We’re trying for a championship,” said Perk. “It’s bigger than the both of us.”
That the Celtics are on pace for more than 60 wins without a single All-Star starter reminds me of a phrase: Ubuntu. Together, we are more valuable than we are alone.