Will the national narrative around the Celtics finally change now?




Celtics

Dumb takes will surely be aimed the Celtics’ way next season. Hopefully having a new banner at the Garden will make them easier to dismiss.

Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and the Celtics don’t let the noise affect them, but they do hear it.

Terrible takes by the national media regarding Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and the Celtics were spewed in greater abundance during the early stages of the team’s postseason run.

There is no doubt about this.

But they are nothing new. Oh no, they are not.

Consider this: A year ago Friday, former Celtic and stunningly prolific ESPN bloviator Kendrick Perkins said that Tatum and his boyhood friend, then-Wizard Bradley Beal, were “tied together like cooked spaghetti.”

Perkins, with that special kind of blind confidence that only the woefully misguided exude, said it was the perfect time for the Celtics to trade Brown for Beal.

“If I’m the Celtics,” said Perkins, “I’m calling them ASAP to try and get a deal done.”

Spoiler alert: The Celtics did not follow his advice. Instead, Brad Stevens got a different deal done, signing Brown to a $304 million contract extension, the largest in NBA history.

Spoiler alert 2: It worked out rather well.

Misguided, ill-informed, and careless commentary on the Celtics is nothing new. It has just felt that way during their playoff journey, because of their place in the spotlight, the debate shows’ prolific production of nonsense, and the amplification of it all on social media, podcasts, and aggregation websites.

There are countless contenders for the second-worst take on the Celtics this season. Perkins has at least a half-dozen himself, including this comment about coach Joe Mazzulla in January: “You wonder, if you take his brain out and you put it in a bird, the bird is going to start flying backwards.”

But the worst take? That’s easy. The conversation between Udonis Haslem — still a Heat employee, by the way — and “Get Up!” host Mike Greenberg the morning after the Celtics clinched the Eastern Conference title with a sweep of the Pacers.

While ESPN showed a clip of Tatum grinning during the postgame celebration, Greenberg and Haslem — the same Celtics hater who in the past disparaged Bill Russell’s name — wondered if Tatum was happy that Brown won the Larry Bird Trophy as Eastern Conference finals Most Valuable Player.

“When Jaylen Brown wins that award in the moment that happens, the rest of the team just goes crazy. They all were so genuinely [happy], they’re all so genuinely excited for him. And you did not seem to think that it was mirrored in Jayson,” said Greenberg to Haslem, noting that the Heat lifer had mentioned it before the show.

It was a foolish, phony comment that originated with someone who has a strong anti-Celtics bias. And their words were contradicted in real time by the clip that accompanied them.

I’ve watched too many hours of terrible sports-debate programming in 15 years as a media columnist. I’ve watched Skip Bayless more than once, for goodness sake. And I’ve never seen anything quite like that.

The intent here isn’t to amplify the bad takes even more, but to confront how ridiculous they are, with an additional hope that perhaps the narrative around the Celtics will finally change now.

During an appearance on The Ringer’s “Off The Pike” podcast this past week, Celtics television voice Drew Carter had a smart assessment of the Greenberg comment while chatting about Brown’s improvement as a player with host Brian Barrett.

“I thought it was a beautiful moment when he won the Eastern Conference finals MVP,” said Carter. “I thought it was hilarious that it turned into a story. ‘Was Tatum happy enough for Jaylen?’ I was like, ‘All right, this is how you know the Celtics are really good, because people are that desperate for some type of content.’ ”

The Celtics themselves don’t let the noise affect them, but they do hear it. During his press availability in Dallas on Thursday, Tatum concluded his comments with a good-natured dig that wasn’t exactly untrue.

Told that the Celtics had a chance to be the first team to sweep the conference finals and NBA Finals, Tatum said, “I didn’t know that. That would be really cool.”

Then came the kicker, his final comment before leaving the podium.

“But you guys would probably say we didn’t play anybody to get here. So we just gotta do it again next year.”

Dumb takes will surely be aimed the Celtics’ way next season. Hopefully having a new banner at the Garden will make them easier to dismiss.

Instant classic

Those who missed the Tom Brady Patriots Hall of Fame ceremony Wednesday night can now watch it in full on the team’s website, Patriots.com

Patriots.com, which along with YouTube aired the ceremony live, posted the entire event Saturday afternoon after previously having just highlights available. The holdup was getting some licensing and rights approvals, per Patriots vice president of communications Stacey James.

Also, Ch. 4 will air an hourlong edition of “Patriots All-Access” next Friday at 7 p.m., which will feature the best of the ceremony. That will re-air next Saturday at 3 p.m. on Ch. 38.

But there is no rebroadcast of the entire program scheduled on television for now.





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