Why I’m A Celtic’s Fan: By Clatyon Creswell (CC Baby)
You wanna know when I’m a Celtics fan sport? You really want to know why? I mean shit, let’s be honest, allot of people back then and I’m talking about the 50’s and the 60’s were Celtic’s fans. It didn’t matter if you were from Boston, if you had any brains in your family you were a Celtic’s fan. You never wanted to be on the other side of a bet against Red Aurbach. The Brooklyn bred, Washington DC city Jewish kid was the closest thing to basketball besides a peach basket and a PHD. And he loved the game and he was a teacher. Red Aurback was certainly an early outliner of a billion dollar worldwide conglomerate. However I’d disagree for him, timing, luck and circumstance carried a greater significance than courage and heart. Be cause they didn’t. And for many “outliers” from the popular author of “Tipping Point” that was the case. Heart and Courage. And old Red certainly carried both of those traits on his hip. But for Red and the Celtics it was more about heart and courage and that’s why they won ten championships in a row and that’s why to this day I hold those traits as dear as I did then. And I look for that, still, in life, my bosses at GorrillaDunk, women, musicians, strippers, politicians, teachers and athletes, heart and courage. Yes, I enjoy the mad 1’s.
And Red seemed to pick the perfect characters to fill his storybook of triumph and most importantly America. And this always for all of us must remain our dearest cause. Why am I Celtic’s fan? Or why should I say, I’ve used my first article on GDD to answer this question? Simply put, it’s the biggest thing anyone would have to know to understand me. It’s part of my genetic fiber. And I was fortunate enough to have a window seat. The rare opportunity to camp eat, watch, learn and live with my idols every summer for two weeks. And at the top sat Red Aurbach.
And in my house my father loved in this order, basketball, football, pretty ladies and baseball tied, baseball barely, actually, you know pal, it was probably a tie. He used his position in our city to attract a coveted high school basketball tournament. And for our small city on the fringe of the old mountain, coal labor market this was the biggest ticket of the year. I watched Wilt Chamberlin come through in high school out of Philly, 16 years old, 7 feet! And the MVP tournament plaque like the Hayden tournament (an earlier GDD article posted by Charlie Paradise) read like a whose who of the NBA. Only difference in our case we had dam near 10 hall of famers. And for a couple of years it became known as the best high school tournament in the country. And my father was the president and MC and the 2,500 seat gym was always packed to capacity. My basketball roots run deep. And I played, I watched, I practiced, and I listened to my father who above all else on earth respected no one greater than Red Aurback the head coach and chief architect of the mighty Boston Celtics.
And one of the things I feel bad for kids today is that given the way the world has changed events like I’m about to describe unfold less frequently if they occur at all. But this was 1955, I was from Western PA but I happened to be lucky, I had a superman dad. And even though we were from Pennsylvania, he lived and breathed the Celtics, Red Aurback of the Celtics and later Ted Williams of the then cursed Red Sox. My dad was the gunner on B-52’s in World War II, flying three dozens missions over Italy over two terms. His first term he served and went back, but he couldn’t stay away. And it’s that sense of country, and duty to your fellow citizen that I had been raised in. My father went back. Another 2 years, and he came home a hero. He became president of the biggest bank in my home city. He worked three a lady in 1 she had flown transport because back in those days a gal was prohibited from gunning down Nazi’s out of the clear blue skies if she had skills.
Back then the prettiest girl in town she had selected my father out of the four other proposal’s she had at the time which she always likes to remind my own children.
And during that summer my highlight each and every summer was attending the Red Aurbach Boston Celtics camp, which at the time was held up in Bangor Maine, s small summer camp that two weeks out of every summer I played basketball in front of Red. And we rubbed shoulders with Russell, Cousey, Sharman, Ramsey, Heinson, KC Jones, Snatch Sanders, Sam Jones.
And I god dam loved this camp. And it’s so different today, and I always thought I understood why my dad was a Celtic’s fan, Red, Cousey. Heinson, Russell and co. were winners, plain and simple. They But this is a story that captured the true essence of my own life long allegiance to the green machine.
Anyway one evening, while seated at the mess hall for our family style nightly chow down, a kid on my team, Bernie Horwitz mentioned that Kyle our starting forward must’ve been half nigger after seeing him jam out the night before in the Dorm to Smokey Joe’s Café. I never had a use for the word, I’d always abhorred any regretful time my ear lobes came across the verbal trajectory of such a statement. The problem for Bernie and at that moment our table and team was that Bill Russell himself was walking by and overheard his abject incredulity.
Our guts became bottomless pits the towering 6-10 center with the world champion rings would not just walk by. He had heard, he stopped, as if been wounded by a hand gun, briefly, and he sat down. His initial reaction was not to become angry. And stopped when he sat for what seemed like a week. He the asked a question, why had Bernie said that? We all knew he was wrong, and now he had hurt Bill fucking Russell, it would’ve been much easier if he had gotten angry. We all knew it was wrong, and the truth is Bernie just wanted attention. He knew it was wrong, but what he didn’t know was well anything.
And as he apologized profusely and ref faced Mr. Russell looked down and I wondered what would happen to us, what would he do next? I mean would we forfeit our playoff spot, would Bill get Red involved? Would Red call my dad? Holy Shit! If Red Aurback called my father and told him that I was being sent home because the Jewish kid dropped the Neutron and we all went along with it, I would not be allowed back in the house. I would’ve shamed my father our family and core values. And just at that moment of ultimate freight, the worst fear of a kid, they send you home from a summer camp that happens to be your favorite thing in the whole wide world.
He tapped his gigantic finger, a finger we know had been on the other side of many a Wilt Chamberlin block, a finger that had touched the heaven’s of greatness here on earth, our hero and huge driver of happiness for all families of Celtic fandom. And he looked up and akin to his mentor and coach told us a story. And we sat attentive as if wired for radio frequency. What would he say? He reminded us that we were at Celtics camp, and he reminded us that we were kids. And then he told us a story about the NBA all-star game at that time a couple years back down in Atlanta. The NBA was looking to expand down south, they had the east coast, mid west, the league was expanding. Atlanta, all star weekend would go a long way and brining a team to the Atlanta area. And Bill Russell king of the hill, drove down with his family excited for a dose of southern charm, he was from Oakland and had never experienced it, he even piled his kids in the rented station wagon.
And what did he receive once he crossed south of the MD line, nothing that he expected. Bill Russell, the mighty Bill Russell was told he couldn’t eat at the front of a Restaurant, Bill Russell pulled up to a gas station that REFUSED TO SERVE HIM, THOSE WERE THE RULES. And he was appalled, he had at that time already captured a gold medal for his country, the ultimate winner finally arrived at the hotel, and was told he had to stay at a seperate negro hotel across the way. He was crushed not just for him, but that his kids were exposed to this American brutal birth defect. And he turned around even though the game was in two days. And word finally got back to Red and his three other teammates, and when the game started that Sunday at noon, led by Red, Cousey, Sharman and heinson, the Celtics all left to, only leaving a note so the league would know. Due to racial components beyond their control, the Celtics including Red and Russell would be boycotting the game on grounds of Jim Crow. And it was cancelled postponed, it’s funny, tough to find information even today on this, I’m sure Red divulges it in his last book before he died, “Let me Tell You a Story.”
And as Russell walked us through an even that happened before the 60’s we sat enthralled wrapped up as if his words were a warm blanket protecting us from our on defects and implosion capacity to say the wrong thing, make the wrong mistake. And he said that’s what a Celtic is being about, doing the right thing. And in your heart you’ll always know what that is, take your brain out of it, he laughed and said. And when he stood up it was like walking the erection of the Empire State Building, “And you gentlemen have a good evening.” And we sat stunned, and none of us spoke least of which Bernie, he’d take it way down the remainder of camp, and I was happy, I never so cared for him. And that’s when it transcends, which usually results in the best stuff. When it’s more than a game, it’s life. And I joined on to Gorriladunkdaily for these core reasons, and that’s why I’ll always be, my grandchildren and their eventual children included, Celtic’s fans.
PS: Happy Sat morning, gorilladunk the day ! Much love to JQ, this is our favorite time slot of the week, every week here's in under the radar Saturday morning Gem. Blast it. ! Much Love Moni Love, continue to pull em from the vault, this starts the day $trong, da nada.