Monday, January 30, 2006


Ricky's Gone... part 2

Ricky Davis should have failed in Boston.

In his first 5 plus seasons, Buckets earned a reputation as a me-first, defense/teamwork/wins be damned modern NBA player. Athletically gifted, Ricky became the proverbial good player on a bad Cleveland team, who quickly jettisoned him before he could take an 18 year-old Lebron out for a night on the town. A reputed shot counter, Ricky came to Boston, whose dwindling fan base still had memories of exquisite passing and selflessness that led to team championships, not individual glory.

Now on his fourth team by the age of 24, Ricky’s arrival was met with some skepticism, especially from fan-boys who bemoaned the break up of the most unwatchable “good” basketball team in history. These jerkoffs were still smarting from the loss of a fat power forward who didn’t rebound, and now all around good guy Eric Williams (read: non-threatening) was traded for a sketchy dude with cornrows and an attitude. Sure, the Celtics have had their share of flashy dunkers (Dee Brown), along with some players who had some off-the-court trouble (Chief), but never before would a player who, lets face it, looked like a dirt bag, test the well-worn stereotype of a racist Boston.

Ricky had one major thing going for him as he donned Celtic green for the first time – the team was fucking BORING. The 2003 Celtics, a year prior to Ricky’s arrival, featured Pierce, Walker, Williams, Delk, Bremer, Shammond Williams, Battie, Walter, Vinny and Blount. You’ll find more athleticism in your average men-over-30 rec league, who are only playing basketball to get away from their wives for a couple hours a week. Actually, that team is a lot like the league I play in, one legitimately good player, one guy who thinks he’s a lot better than he is, a couple of big stiffs, point guards who can’t shoot, a spaz who everyone hates (me), and a drunk. Suffering Celtic fans looked forward to the ten minutes a game Kedrick Brown stumbled through, at least something exciting would happen.

I vaguely remember Ricky’s first home game, when he cheated in the passing lane at least twice to steal the ball, sprint down the floor, and dunk with a flair not seen in years. A fan favorite was born. Unlike the aforementioned Kedrick, Ricky was competent at all aspects of the game, and he was an above average mid-range shooter, something the Celtics had not had since Reggie’s passing. Add in that Ricky’s goofy persona compared favorably to Pierce’s increasing poutiness, and you have a future cult fav. In fact, just weeks after his arrival, Fleet Center fans forgave Ricky when a wide open breakaway look-at-me dunk bounced off the back of the rim. While their basketball instincts may have called for this show boater to be booed, a polite applause followed the initial shock. Was this a good thing? Probably not, but these fans paid good money to watch some up and down the court action, not some 3 and D bullshit.

The very best thing to happen to Ricky was to move to the bench. Although he played starter minutes, Ricky had this chip on his shoulder, underdog thing going. He also hit big shots in the clutch. Ricky publicly embraced his role, and was rewarded with internet appreciation and a fan club as goofy as he (which was tolerable until they joined the unreadable Celtsblog). Most of you are aware of our feelings on Ricky’s role, so I won’t bore you reiterating our correct stance. It should be noted, however, that many soured on Ricky the starter, even though he made reasonable money and played hard.

As Ricky embarks on his fifth team in seven years (wow), he will again be that underdog who has a lot to play for (in addition to “a lot of money”). We here at Doom wish him well. I think Ricky helped shift basketball sentiment in Boston; flashy is not automatically bad, afros are cool, and a player whose role is to just come of the bench and score is just as valuable as the “glue” guy who correctly sets screens and boxes out.

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