In the wake of Enes Kanter’s Instagram post, let’s talk about jerseys.
Once upon a time, NBA teams wore one jersey for home games and a different one on the road. Then, the mid-’90s went and ambushed fans with a series of garish redesigns and new “alternates” for teams like the Bulls, Knicks and Heat.
Fast forward two decades and jerseys – with their endless permutations – make a ton of money for the NBA.
The Celtics, by and large, stayed above the fray, only introducing an alternate jersey during the 2005-06 season, the first of a two-year slog that produced 107 combined losses and hastened the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to save one of the Association’s legacy franchises. The green duds featured black letters and numbers – for some reason, player names remained white – and ample black piping down the sides.
I never warmed to these, even when they later appeared on the backs of NBA champions. They might as well have been Hefty bags after those two initial losing seasons. Fortunately, the C’s later introduced a Kelly green number with gold letters (also known as the “St. Patrick’s Day” jersey) which, given the franchise’s penchant for collecting gold trophies, seemed entirely fitting.
When the new Big Three splintered, the NBA experimented with sleeves, and even the 17-time world champions weren’t immune. One year, we got cursive for Christmas. And more recently, a pretty sharp “Statement” effort in black.
Last year, the league debuted “City” and “Earned” uniforms for each team (the latter only applied to teams that made the playoffs the previous spring). The C’s didn’t deviate much from the usual recipe with these, adding a mustard outline to the “Boston” emblazoned across the front of the City edition and giving the mustard a healthy squeeze to fill the block letters of the Earned counterparts.
But even a Celtics alternate inspired by a French’s bottle would trump what Kanter shared on Monday. One can only hope it’s a prototype or a gift from a fan. While the jersey’s color scheme may have been compromised by lighting or Kanter’s stone age cell phone, that doesn’t address the quality concerns or heavily ridiculed Irish pub-style script. While plenty of fans would still probably buy one, there’s got to be something more original than that.
A Bully with the Bucks
Fans are still buzzing from Wednesday’s night’s win over Milwaukee, a completely unexpected result given the opposition, Jaylen Brown’s absence and Boston’s abysmal first half performance that saw them trail by as many as 19 points.
The second half effort was reminiscent of past Brad Stevens-led Celtics teams, where you never discounted the possibility of a comeback, no matter the situation or opponent. When the two teams entered the locker room, the Bucks were 9-for-22 from behind the arc and plus-8 on the glass. They seemed to be toying with the listless Green.
After the break, the C’s completely flipped the script, while an aggressive (and accurate) offensive game plan closed the third quarter with a 26-7 run. Meanwhile, Marcus Smart and Semi Ojeleye forced reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (five second-half field goal attempts) to defer to his decidedly less talented teammates, to withering results.
Boston’s postseason prospects shouldn’t be judged by one game in October. But Wednesday was a good night at the Garden.
Isaiah Thomas has looked great since making his season debut with the Wizards, following up a 16-point debut against San Antonio with a 17-point, 10 assist effort in a track meet against Houston. The oft-injured former Boston dynamo is on a minutes restriction early in the season, but with John Wall sidelined, point guard minutes are ripe for the picking in Washington.
Seeing Jae Crowder hit a game-winner to beat Kyrie Irving and the Nets last weekend was another reminder of how much the Boston roster has turned over the last two-plus years. Remember, Danny Ainge returned just four players from the 2017 Eastern Conference finalists. This year’s edition has nine new faces among the holdovers from last spring. That makes for a lot of old friends spread out across the league.
Some of your former favorites are hiding in plain sight, like the headline-gobbling Irving, new Philly rival Al Horford, and Marcus Morris, who the C’s will encounter for the second time on Friday.
Terry Rozier is of course making bank in Charlotte. With DeAndre Ayton suspended in Phoenix, Aron Baynes is a starter for the Suns. Among others, Guerschon Yabusele is with the Nanjing Monkey Kings in China. Jonas Jerebko is in Russia.
Meanwhile, Crowder grinds away in Memphis with former Boston center Tyler Zeller, who’s getting some burn as well. Avery Bradley soaks up minutes as a reliable role player on the retooled Lakers. Kelly Olynyk remains in Miami, Gerald Green is out for a while with a broken foot, and former summer league phenom Jordan Mickey suits up for Real Madrid.