Throngs of fans young and old — most clad in kelly green, some sporting oversized hats — turned out for last Thursday’s “rolling rally” celebration honoring the Boston Celtics’ 2008 NBA championship, the perfect end to a remarkable turnaround that saw Boston reclaim its spot atop the basketball world. (Amanda Montgomery photo)
Through a haze of his own cigar smoke, Paul Pierce peered through sleepless eyes at the sea of green-clad fans and thrust his golden MVP trophy skyward.
His day had finally arrived. A day to ride in his own championship parade. A day that gave normal people a chance to wave signs, paint their faces in Boston Celtics colors and scream their hearts out for the latest team to bring a title to town.
“We’re tired of watching these parades on TV. Now we get to enjoy our own,” Pierce said after a fantastic season that followed nine frustrating ones in his Boston career. “I haven’t had any sleep yet, so now I’m still enjoying it.”
The Celtics earned last Thursday’s “rolling rally” celebration with an amazing comeback season topped off by a stunningly dominant 131-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA finals. Pierce was named series MVP.
It was the Celtics’ first title without Red Auerbach, the team patriarch who died in October 2006 after being part of the other 16 championships, nine as coach. The cigars smoked by players and fans were a tribute to Auerbach’s custom of lighting one up on the bench in the waning moments of still another win.
“We wish he could be here,” Pierce said before he lit his cigar on his duck boat, “so I’m doing this to honor him.”(p2)