We Want Shirley!
Like the rest of the quality basketball-starved populace of Boston, we are enjoying the Celtics revival immensely. It would be one thing if Danny Ainge had acquired a trio of stars, and through sheer will and talent had manged a 14-8 record or some-such. What we love about this team is how hard they play, and especially how hard they play together.
However, with the recent release of Brandon Wallace, and the continued absence of veteran backup big man Scot Pollard, the C’s have a roster spot, and a need, for a tall, relatively well-coordinated big man who would come cheap.
We have just the guy, Danny: Paul Shirley.
If you don’t know the Shirley story by now, we would highly recommend rushing out to your nearest chain book store and picking up a copy of Can I Keep My Jersey, Shirley’s fantastic account of his nomadic playing career.
Shirley recently engaged in one of those horrible ESPN chats where the level of questions usually never rises above: “Dude. How come no love for the Grizzlies?”
Fortunately, Shirley doesn’t do stupid. You can read the whole chat here. What he does do is mention his love of the Celtics, and particularly Kevin Garnett, about whom Shirley had much praise in his book. In the chat, someone asked him if he was enjoying any particular team in the NBA this year (Shirley is playing in Spain).
Honest answer: I am enjoying the Celtics current run because of my deep-seated Celtics fandom and because I greatly respect Kevin Garnett after the 3 weeks I spent in training camp with the TWolves last year. He really does deserve success.
Now, we know there’s no way it will happen for two reasons. One, Shirley said in his chat that it would be hard for him to leave a team in the middle of the year. And two, thanks to his candor, and sarcastic wit, he is basically radioactive to the league. You can be a wise-ass, but only if you’re getting 25 points and 10 boards a night.
The latter point is myopic, of course. The NBA flourishes because of star power, but it survives with the hard-core fans because of its ability to laugh at itself (a quality that has unfortunately been in steady decline for at least the last 10 years or so).
Think of all the great characters in the history of the NBA: World B. Free, Darryl Dawkins, hell, Phil Jackson was a legendary oddball before he started believing how smart he is. There has to be a place for a 12th (or 13th, or 14th) man in the NBA who sees the world in such a wry manner and would connect with the fans.
So, we’re starting the drumbeat now: We want Paul Shirley. As an added bonus, he could help Big Baby with his writing career. Wait, scratch that. The Celtics would probably see that as a detriment.
How about this: We want Paul Shirley, because you can never have enough funny as hell backup backup centers who have scored 33 career points.