|Posted by GeeZeeCeltics on October 27, 2012 at 7:10 AM|
As we are getting closer to Opening Night, the talk about Ray Allen is logically intensifying. You already know what's happening - Allen is throwing out all sorts of (invented?) stories to explain why he left.
To me, it sounds like #20 is trying to convince himself that the move was correct, although deep down he knows he made a mistake. As Ray talks more and more, my anger towards him has turned to some sort of sadness. It's exactly that - it's sad. I see a man whose decisions were ego driven, but I also see a Celtic somewhere behind it all. The whole situation reminds me of doing something bad in the heat of rage and regretting it soon after.
It sort of looks like that with Ray. It's rather clear that moving to Miami was a way for him to stick it to the Celtics (which failed, I think). But that's not the Allen we knew, right? Ray Allen was supposed to be the pro of the pros, a soft spoken, calm guy. We were hoodwinked by his act for years while he was here in Boston and everything was going good. But when dookie hits the fan, you see the real colors of a man, and that's what we saw with #20.
The issue here is that we need these types of situations to actually determine who is made of what. If there are no defining moments like this, we are left only with the façade that the players show to the media. It’s about the perception they create, or sometimes even the perception that the media creates for them.
Take, for instance, Jeff Green and Derrick Rose. Jeff is coming back from a heart surgery, which is a very serious matter, after missing the whole season. Plus, the season before that he wasn't playing very solid basketball because he had so little time to get comfortable. Yet when he got paid, a lot of people criticized Ainge’s decision. Now Green is in prove the doubters wrong mode, and if preseason has been any indication, Jeff is going to make the doubters look terribly foolish. One could make a case for this being the comeback of the year.
Of course, the problem here is that the media isn't all over it. This is where Rose comes in. His torn ACL is also a serious injury, albeit not as uncommon. But I am rather sure that if it comes down to a comeback of the year award, he would be the runaway winner. That’s because Adidas is going all in on marketing his injury, making a big deal out of his comeback.
So, on one hand you have Green, who is coming back from heart surgery and a shaky year before that, playing magnificent ball while under constant pressure from around him. On the other hand, you have D-Rose, who is already a loved player who is just recovering from an ACL tear. This is a matter of choosing between a player returning from heart surgery AND becoming better and a player returning from his ACL injury. I think it’s pretty clear that Jeff’s comeback would be more impressive, provided he continues his level of play. But why is Rose the one getting all the hype? Yup, marketability. Perception.
This is exactly what happened with Ray and Rondo. Jay King of CelticsTown already looked at this before, and I wholeheartedly agree:
The reasons for my theory are simple: If an athlete is happy and engaging with the press, members of the press are more likely to like him. And when members of the press like an athlete, their stories about him become complimentary. And when consumers read complimentary stories about an athlete, they begin to view the athlete as moral and good. The media shapes how the public views an athlete. This is fact.
For some reason, it feels like Celtics fans identify with this problem a whole lot. Our whole team routinely gets undervalued, in my opinion. KG is always considered a dick, pardon my French. Rondo is obnoxious. We’re old. You know the drill.
It is also the reason why we surprise people in the playoffs year after year. No one knows this team better than its fans. Other people see the perception, we see the real thing. They’ve heard about Ubuntu, we live it. That is what always gives me hope, regardless of the situation the team is in. To many, we were dead last year before the All-Star break. You know, because we were old. But when your legs can’t carry you anymore, your pride, dedication and desire to win drive you forward, beyond any limits.
But outsiders don’t get it, because the perception is different. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It only makes breaking that perception that much sweeter.