Ever since the announcement on July 31st that the Celtics had acquired Kevin Garnett, it has been all for one and one for all with the three Celtics stars. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce came to Boston for KG's press conference and whenever you see one player being interviewed, you see the other two with him. There have been many questions since these three came together on the Celtics as to whether they could co-exist and find the chemistry necessary to win.
I have to tell you that when I watched this commercial two things came to mind. One is that I am glad these guys have a day job. Not their best work. The second was, why is Jeff Van Gundy driving the bus? Shouldn't that be Doc? Are they trying to send a subliminal message here? They have done interviews together. They have posed for the cover of Sports Illustrated and ESPN magazines among others.
They hung together in Rome and London and it seems that where you see one of the trio, you see the other two.
But most importantly, they have played together on the court. In their preseason games, it was evident that these three are willing and able to share the basketball so questions like "Will there be enough basketballs to go around?" seems to be fairly ridiculous. These three aren't looking for stats. One night Pierce may lead the team in scoring. One night KG may lead the team in scoring. One night Ray Allen may lead the team in scoring. And, one night Perk may lead the team in scoring. They have been very unselfish and KG especially has shown some great passing skills that will keep the others involved in the offense.
One thing that stands out is that these three have very different games that mesh together quite well. KG plays inside and can block shots and rebound and gives us a defensive presence inside. Ray Allen's game is the jumper on the perimeter. Paul Pierce is a slasher who can drive to the basket and kick out, draw the foul, or make the shot. Of course there are other facets to their games and all can play defense and all can rebound and all can slash but those are the strengths that each brings to the game.
Kevin Garnett has always been the crazy one, the one who looks as if he's hopped into the shower in full gear and sneakers. His workout sessions are legendary, causing trainers to marvel and onlookers to gawk. Rookies in Minnesota have been awed. Vets working out in Vegas this summer were humbled. The force of his focused glare has made arena attendants afraid of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. You know, stuff like "You okay?" or "Want some Gatorade?"
It's the kind of crazy that helped make the 31-year-old Garnett the biggest thing to hit the Celtics since Larry Legend himself. Which is why, when KG first stepped into the Celtics' training facility in Waltham, Mass., he came brandishing what was sure to be a fresh ethos: Prepare as intensely as you play.
Instead, KG was the one who got the lesson.
It was 8 a.m. in early September, and Garnett was … late? Usually the first one in the gym, he walked in and found Paul Pierce, who already had been there long enough to work up a thick sweat. Pierce was too busy doing sit-ups and pounding the treadmill to offer a drawn-out hug. When KG looked through the window at the indoor court, he realized he wasn't even the second Celtic to have started his day. Ray Allen, also dripping, bolted around the floor, launching jumpers at a feverish pace.
Garnett looked back at Pierce, now grunting on the pull-up bar, then once again at Allen, now walking into the weight room to pick up some dumbbells. And that's when it hit the 12-year pro: He was with kindred spirits.
"When I'm in the gym, I see mugs looking at me like, What's wrong with him?" KG says, clenching his fists while his voice rises with each word. "I was looking at Ray and P the same way. But inside I was like, Yeah! This is what I'm talking about! That right there told me a lot about how we are going into this year."
But, it isn't just the three of them. They are the stars, but they don't have an exclusive club. They have worked hard to try to get their teammates involved and to make them realize that it is 12 players on the team. Whether it is in interviews where they constantly bring up their teammates and praise Rondo or Perk or House or Posey or Tony or the others and it is on the court where they look to get their teammates involved.
A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.
As with the Three Musketeers, the whole team is taking on the ubuntu motto and all are working for the common good. Stats don't matter this season. It is the outcome that counts.
It is All for One and One for All with this team and that can only mean good things for the Celtic Nation. Celtics fans are in for a very exciting season!