May 5, 1997
We have all had a gas with the Paul Gaston jokes. We have hammered him
with unflattering nicknames. We have poked fun at his boyish, Richie
Cunningham looks. We have parodied his threat to sue The Wall Street
Journal for . . . pause for drum roll, please . . . a $ 100 million.
you know what? I trust Paul Gaston. I believe in Paul Gaston. And I am
counting on Paul Gaston, now that he has a couple of years experience of
running an NBA experience, to be the man who makes the right decisions,
decisions that return the Celtics to prominence.
the man has made mistakes. He has been a veritable Roger Clemens of
foot-in-mouth quotage. And face it, there are a lot of people who hate
Gaston for no other reason than because he is a rich kid whose dad
handed him the keys to an NBA franchise for a birthday present.
look at it this way: Paul Gaston is the one man who absolutely,
positively has the best interests of the Celtics at heart. It's simple -
the Gastons have a controlling interest in the ownership of the
Celtics. You think Paul Gaston is trying to hold onto his job? You think
he's secretly sending out feelers about being a coach or general
manager for another NBA franchise?
while we're on the subject, what's the big deal with papa giving him the
club? Isn't that how America works? Half the people in many a
neighborhood inherited their home from their parents or grandparents,
but I haven't felt an urge to call the guy across the street
What was Don Gaston supposed to do? Give the Celtics to some deserving nobody and tell young Paul to go fend for himself?
him or hate him, Paul Gaston runs the Celtics. And, like him or hate
him, he's the one guy in this drama who isn't going anywhere unless the
team is sold. Can the same be said about Larry Bird? M.L. Carr? Jan
Do me this favor: Put aside all your
hero worship and adulation and goosebumps-on-the-skin nostalgia and ask
yourself if you truly believe Bird has the best interests of the Celtics
at heart these days. Bird's been jumping all around the basketball map
as a representative of the Celtics, and his assignment is to find the
man who will replace laugh riot M.L. Carr as head coach. Yet at the same
time he sits down with the owner of the Indiana Pacers to discuss a
plan by which he, Larry Bird, would become head coach of the Pacers.
Bird's been doing some dazzling, no-look, behind-the-back dime-dropping
this week, and a lot of old-timers on press row are only too happy to
help out. Bird, highly intelligent, has played this thing like the 1986
Finals. The Celtics may or may not wind up with the coaching arrangement
they want, but you can be assured that Bird will get what Bird wants.
Listening, Pacers fans?
If Larry Bird winds
up back home in Indiana, it won't be because the Celtics failed to
deliver what Larry wanted. It will because the ever-competitive Bird
worked out a better deal with the Pacers. And if Larry Brown winds up in
Philly, Rick Pitino stays in Kentucky and the Celtics wind up with (gasp) Dennis Johnson as coach, do you think Bird will lose any sleep?
was so much easier when Red Auerbach ran the Celtics. Red regularly
played other NBA general managers for chumps, and he decided everything:
draft picks, trades, schedule, hotels.
days, the Celtics are a collection of factions, which, with the NBA
draft approaching, is a little scary. It must be tough to cover the
draft when you're busy covering your butt.
Paul Gaston is responsible for this mess because, after all, it's his
name at the top of the masthead. But while he may have broke it, he's
the only guy in a position to fix it.