He wasn’t even good enough to win an NBA title, let alone the Olympics — he made it to the Final Four twice (in 1998 and 2000), but wasn’t even good enough to bring home gold four straight summers. That’s a major accomplishment! So even if the NBA should pay his contract — or even if he should get a contract extension — the only reason for it is money.
And he deserves at least that much. Maybe the Celtics and their fans should give him an extension before they pay his $23 million per year salary. He has earned this much money. And maybe he should give it all back. This is the only way to honor his sacrifice.
I’m not sure what the answer is, but I’m sure that if they did the one thing that even those of us who have done this for decades — like me — know would be best, here’s what I would do:
They could tell him that his entire life was a gift and that he should thank God for that. Maybe we have to live so close to God to get those thoughts. Maybe we have to be close enough to touch him that we remember the moment when things were hard and the tears came. Maybe he has to tell us his life has meant so much to him, that nothing will ever be the same. I would give it to him as a parting gift.
He should take this opportunity to work on being a better teammate, and then work to become a better leader — both of which could help him get paid again after the Olympics, and which he has shown he can be.
And he should get something good to put it toward. I guarantee that’s what happened after the final game between the Celtics and the Los Angeles Clippers this past weekend. Even though it was just two teams, both of whom are in tough situations now, the crowd of about 5,000 people stayed behind when the fans went out. Maybe that was thanks to how well the Celtics and Clippers were doing against each other that weekend. Maybe it was because some people from the crowd took time and effort to tell us, in person and on social media, how much they appreciated the fans.
Or maybe it was thanks to all that they’ve done for their team over the years. The Celtics have always been great fans — I watched a lot of the 1980s Celtics, from Paul Pierce to Bob Cousy, and they always had a good time. And I love how Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have put their jerseys
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