Well, the clamorous wait is finally over and the results are in… My five all-time favorite sportsmen. Presented here with a little dramatic license (otherwise it really would just be five England cricket players), and in tension-building reverse-order. Tomorrow: #4.
Too much of a man to really be my ‘type,’ I still can’t help but find Paul Pierce just a little bit attractive. I think it’s those big doey eyes, that toothy grin, and wispy facial hair ever-present but never quite an actual beard. In the rough and tumble world of professional basketball, he seems so unthreatening. Jolly. I like that.
Better yet, Pierce wears the Celtic green – the longstanding loyal one out of what became ‘The Big Three.’ Not for him the Johnny-come-lately success enjoyed by Allen and Garnett, he stuck around for some ‘wilderness years’ first. Points for that, I think.
A full disclosure, though: in my life I’ve watched maybe eight games of basketball. (I want to call it ‘hoops,’ but don’t even know if people do.) No matter, six of those were the Celtics-Lakers 2008 Finals. To my inexpert eye, Pierce was the difference, the reason Boston won. True or not, mind, who cares? In one game, in the rabble-rousing Garden, he was carried off the floor with an injured knee. Was he done for good? Had the Celtics lost their captain when it really mattered most? Emphatically: no. After a few minutes out of sight, he strode inside again, strapped up and ready to go. Greeting him back, as wild a racket as you’ll ever hear… That arena full of fans – they knew right then and there that they’d be going home happy.