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**Selected by the Wall Street Journal among the Best Sports Books of 2021**
A New York Times bestselling sportswriter tells the inside story of how three star players joined together to form the most dominant team in basketball and lead the Boston Celtics to their first championship in more than two decades.
The first of "The Big Three" was Paul Pierce. As Boston Celtics fans watched the team retire Pierce's jersey in a ceremony on February 11, 2018, they remembered again the incredible performances Pierce put on in the city for fifteen years, helping the Celtics escape the bottom of their conference to become champions and perennial championship contenders. But Pierce's time in the city wasn't always so smooth. In 2000, he was stabbed in a downtown nightclub eleven times in a seemingly random attack. Six years later, remaining the sole star on a struggling team, he asked to be traded and briefly became a lightning rod among fans.
Then, in 2007, the Boston Celtics General Manager made two monumental trades, bringing Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to Boston. A press conference on July 31, 2007 was a sight to behold: Pierce, KG, and Ray Allen holding up Celtics jerseys for the flood of media. Coach Doc Rivers made sure the team bonded over the thought of winning a title and living by a Bantu term called Ubuntu, which translates as "I am because we are." Rivers wanted to make it clear that togetherness and brotherhood would help them maximize their talent and win. What came next—the synthesis of the Celtics' "Big Three" and their dominant championship run—cemented their standing as one of great teams in NBA history, a rival to Kobe Bryant's Lakers and LeBron James's Cavaliers.
This is the team that brought excitement back to the Garden, and therefore to one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. They met their historic rivals, the Lakers, in the 2008 NBA Finals, winning the series in Game 6, in a rout on their home court with a raucous, concert like atmosphere. Along the victory parade route, Paul Pierce smoked a cigar—as a tribute to legendary former Celtics Coach Red Auerbach. In a city now defined by a wealth of championships, "The Big Three" joined the club. Michael Holley, the premier chronicler of Boston sports, brings their story to life with countless untold stories and behind-the-scenes details in another bestselling tome for New England and sports fans across the country.
Sportswriter Holley (Belichick and Brady) details the Boston Celtics' return to "championship glory" during the 2000s in this fascinating behind-the-scenes account. After new owners bought the team in 2003, Danny Ainge, a former Celtic player who went on to coach in the NBA, was brought on as executive director of basketball operations and given the task of constructing a winning roster. Ainge was unafraid to trade popular players, flipping some for draft picks that he later used to acquire Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. After drafting Paul Pierce, Ainge had assembled what became known as the "The Big Three," who helped win the title in 2008, their first year playing together. The squad's success was short-lived, however, and Ainge began breaking up the team in the franchise's long-term interest: Pierce and Garnett were traded in a 2013 deal that yielded valuable draft picks that restocked the roster with young talent. Holley includes many revelations, such as co-owner Wyc Grousbeck's unwavering support in the drafting of Rajon Rondo, a key member of the championship team. This clear-eyed look at the vicissitudes of professional sports will appeal even to those who don't bleed Celtic green.