About 4 years ago I started a working relationship with the Boston Celtics a team I did not care much about for years. However since my passion for Athletics/sports is blind and the project offered me an outlook on how the Celtics organization works, I took on the project and took it very seriously knowing that the team and it's PR company depended on my work. As a young man I grew up watching the intense rivalry between my favorite team the Los Angeles Lakers against the Boston Celtics a team that was incredibly awesome but I did not like at all. For competition sake, instead I preferred another rival the Philadelphia 76ers because of the legendary Dr. J or otherwise known as JULIUS IRVING.
You see Larry Bird and Kevin Mchale, Danny Ainge(current Celtics GM), The Chief otherwise known as Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson and the rest of the green (my favorite color) use to get on my nerves as I was an avid fan of the greatest center to play the game Kareem Abdul Jabar, and the most sophisticated basketball guard Earvin "Magic" Johnson alongside of Michael COOOOOOPER, James Worthy, Kurt Rambis, Jamal Willkes, Norm nixon and "BYYYYRON SCOTT" just to name a few.
OH those were the days! Then one of my favorite players gets drafted by the very same Celtics and the day after the draft he dies of drug overdose. I recall when he died my younger brother an Avid Celtics fan came into the room to tell me that Len Bias my favorite college basketball player of all time has died and will not be playing for the Boston Celtics. I could not believe it. I thought I was going to turn into a Celtics fan because of that moment but once the University of Maryland star died, I changed my mind and continued to be an even bigger fan of the Los Angeles Lakers thinking that may be if Lenny was drafted by another team he would still be alive.
As I went through a long & tough journey of becoming a broadcast journalist and covering sports of all kinds and including the NBA, I have never once had a moment when I thought the Boston Celtics would have a place in my heart. I saw them many times while covering the Washington Bullets/now Wizards and still never cared much for them. Even when I became a regular stringer for WBZ-TV 4 in Boston whom I really liked, I was still loyal to my Washington D.C area metro teams and the Los Angeles Lakers. Then one day "POP" I was told that the Celtics would be coming to town (Nation's Capital) with some youth to meet with congress people and also visit Washington DC. I was sent on that assignment to cover the event and ever since then I have developed this relationship which I find to be unique.
The Boston Celtics organization have been nothing but absolutely fabulous even though they were not doing so well in the past few years. Then enter Kevin Garnett and other great players. A former star player that I did not care for became the GM (Danny Ainge) and started to lead the team on the right path.
I thought for sure that now that the Celtics are NBA contenders they are going to be big time and they probably will forget about me. I was almost sure that they would go to someone else to do the job that I was doing for them. Then when they were up 3-2 in the series, I get an e-mail saying that the gig will happen and that they still would like for me to do the project that I have been doing for them for the past 4 years. I was shocked and I must say that I felt so much respect towards a team that I did not care for while growing up.
May be because I admired Len Bias so much the Karma was paying me back. My brother was excited as well and on June 25Th, 2008 I spent a couple of hours with the World Champions and life went on as usual. To the Celtics players, team officials as well as other members of the organization and I would like to say, thank you for being a "Class Act".
I also would like to mention in the past it was Senator Edward Kennedy that regularly attended the event and put joy and happiness to the young visitors from Boston and I hope Senator Kennedy will fully recover soon and join this year's special guest former Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry who was kind enough to pose for a picture with me.
The State of Massachusetts and the Boston Celtics organization have become a friend and I will always have a special place in my heart for them as a sports fan and broadcast journalist. It is a blast being able to follow world champions from Massachusetts as I did the same in the past with Super Bowl champs the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. As an Eritrean-American it even makes me feel good to know one of the cities that always welcomed Eritreans during the struggle years for independence from Ethiopia Boston has played a role in helping to create a strong Eritrean Community in North America and continues to this day to build a strong and dynamic Eritrean community.
"Class act indeed"