Our fifth edition of ‘Green Runs Deep’ features Michael Robinson, a Celtics Down Under friend from Melbourne, Australia. Knowing of Michael from my early days on Twitter, I’ve always regarded him as one of the most loyal Celtics fans Australia has to offer. Never one to randomly, or frequently throw out opinions, Michael’s style is more ‘quality over quantity’. When Mike Tweets, I read. -AusCelticsFan
Please tell us about yourself:
“Name: Michael Robinson
Age: 40 years old
Profession: IT Consultant
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
Likes: American Football, Association Football, Australian Rules Football, Basketball, Films, History, Photography, Tennis.
Dislikes: People who wait around for car parking spaces. I call them ‘parking parasites’.”
Dislikes: People who wait around for car parking spaces. I call them ‘parking parasites’
How did you first become a fan of the Boston Celtics?
“This is a long story. I started watching the NBA on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Saturday morning telecasts in the mid to late 1980s. It was around this time that I started playing basketball at age 12 in 1987. The teams that were popular and receiving the most air time on the TV here in Australia were the Lakers, Knicks, Sixers, and Celtics.
My father ran track at the University of Houston (UH) in the early 1960s (1960 – 1964) and he told me about the exploits of a talented UH player called Gary Phillips. My father, who doesn’t have a background in basketball, was amazed by the aerial ability of Phillips and I was easily impressed.
Gary Phillips was the 1961 first round selection (ninth overall) of the Boston Celtics. Obviously, the Celtics were the reigning World Champions and I assume there wasn’t much room on the roster for Phillips, who played one season (1961-1962) with the C’s before playing four seasons with the then San Francisco Warriors.
I also have a recollection of liking / preferring the Celtics green and white colours when selecting a mini basketball at a local sports store (Rebel) when the options were limited to the C’s, Lakers and maybe Sixers.
A good friend (Laker fan) of my father’s also sent me a hard copy of Larry Bird’s book in the late 1980s (circa 1988): ‘Drive: The Story of My Life’
Receiving and reading this book as a young (either 13 or 14 years old) basketball and Celtics fan had a tremendous impact on me. I pretty much became obsessed with Larry Bird and the Celtics.”
Receiving and reading this book as a young basketball and Celtics fan had a tremendous impact on me. I pretty much became obsessed with Larry Bird and the Celtics. -Michael, on Larry Bird’s book ‘Drive’.
When did you first see the Boston Celtics play? When did you manage to see your first live Celtics game?
“I don’t remember the first Celtics game on TV, but it must have been an Eastern Conference game in the mid 80s on a Saturday morning (replay from the previous Friday night’s delayed telecast if I remember correctly). I have a vague recollection of watching the Celtics and Charles Barkley led Sixers playing back then. So it was either 1986 or 1987.
I have made four trips to Boston and three of those trips were specifically to watch the Celtics play live.
My first trip was in December 1995 during the inaugural season of the then FleetCenter. I saw a game against the then ‘New Jersey’ Nets on Friday, December 1, 1995. The C’s lost in overtime 123-131. Dana Barros was the C’s best player while future Celtic Kenny Anderson was the best player for the Nets.
I went to Boston to see the Celtics in December 1999. I saw five home games in Paul Pierce’s second season: a win on December 8 against Denver (with future Celtic James Posey in his rookie season), a win on December 10 against Houston (with rookie Steve Francis) and the C’s losing Paul Pierce with an ankle injury, a loss on December 15 against Utah (with Stockton and Malone), a loss on December 20 against the Lakers (with Shaq and Kobe), and a win on December 22 against the Hawks on the night that the team retired the original parquet floor. Fans with tickets to the game against the Hawks that night were allowed to walk on the floor during the afternoon and take photos. I remember studying the Lucky logo at mid court and seeing that Larry Bird had written his initials in the sleeve of the leprechaun.
I remember studying the Lucky logo at mid court and seeing that Larry Bird had written his initials in the sleeve of the leprechaun.
I went to Boston to see the Celtics in early December 2008. I saw three home games in the season after the championship: a win on December 1 against Orlando (with Dwight Howard), a win on December 3 against Indiana, and a win on December 5 against Portland (with Greg Oden actually playing 19 minutes).
The last time I was in Boston was in late May in 2013 to watch the Red Sox play live at Fenway Park against Cleveland, which had been something that I had always wanted to do, but was difficult when coming to the US in winter months. Unfortunately, as we all know the C’s didn’t qualify for the playoffs and I didn’t get an opportunity to see a live Celtics playoff game.
Who is your favorite Celtics player? Past? And present? And what do they, or have they meant to you?
“My favourite Celtics players from the past are Larry Bird, Paul Pierce, Bill Russell, Sam Jones, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Kevin McHale and Reggie Lewis.
I grew up idolising Larry Bird, who was simply an awesome offensive player and team leader. I have closely followed Paul Pierce’s career since he was playing in Kansas and slid to the Celtics in the 1998 draft.
Reggie Lewis was my favourite Celtic of the post-Bird era. He was an extremely under rated offensive and defensive player, who never received the praise and accolades that he deserved. He was amazing in the 1992-1993 season, including the 1993 Playoffs. I was devastated when Reggie passed in July 1993. It was one thing for Len Bias to die before ever suiting up for the C’s, but when the team’s captain and best player passed away after a breakout season, it was simply the worst feeling in the world.”
I was devastated when Reggie passed in July 1993…it was simply the worst feeling in the world.
“Apart from Kevin McHale, I never saw any of the other players that I have listed, but I have read about them and watched some video. I love the rich history of this franchise and the great players and teams of the late 50s and throughout the 60s in particular when pro basketball had yet to be corrupted by vast sums of TV money and other commercial interests.
In terms of having a favourite current player, I feel like it’s slim pickings from the current squad. I am a fan of Rajon Rondo’s game and attitude, and Avery Bradley’s defense and consistent improvement. It has to really mean something to be a memorable Celtic. I am taking a wait and see approach with Marcus Smart, James Young, and Tyler Zeller. I have a soft spot for Brandon Bass.”
Can you tell us about how the Boston Celtics communities, whether globally, or in Boston, make you feel a part of such a large, and loving sisterhood/brotherhood?
“I enjoyed listening to and calling in (when I had time at work) to Celtics Stuff Live when Jim ‘JB’ Metz, Justin Poulin, and Jon Duke were running the Celtics Stuff Live webcast / podcast a few years ago. I also enjoyed calling into the Celtics Late Night Show and talking Nick Gelso and Brandon Paul.
I have enjoyed meeting fellow Celtic fans through Celtics Stuff Live and Twitter over the years. I must give special mention to the man most commonly known as KWAPT, Mike ‘The Scotsman’ Munger, and the various members of Celtics Down Under (including Kein and Justin).”
Can you tell us about your proudest, or most memorable moment that’s occurred whilst being such a loyal member of the Boston Celtics fan base?
“Getting a low five from Antoine Walker as he was leaving the court after a win at the FleetCenter in December 1999. I can’t remember which game it was after all these years now.
Watching Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals live at home while recovering from food poisoning. It was such an amazing comeback win that essentially turned the series in the C’s favour.
Watching Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals live at Crown Casino in Melbourne while I should have been working. It was like watching a coronation.
Buying a signed Larry Bird ‘Celtic Pride’ Sports Illustrated cover from the 1987 Eastern Conference Semi Final series against the Pistons back in 1996. Buying a piece of the original parquet floor in 2001 via the FleetCenter web site.
So far this season, we’ve established an open, fast-paced, and high-scoring offensive style, however, statistics show that our defensive performance has lowered. With this current trend, how do you see the team holding up over 82 games, against tougher opponents?
“I still see this team struggling over the course of the season. There are still too many signs of the team blowing leads and failing to be clutch. This team is still lacking players who are able to take over games when it’s required.
My end of season prediction is 30-52.”
Can you share your thoughts on our Celtics community in Australia? Do you see a lot of the Celtic Pride in our many members?
“I am aware of quite a few Celtics fans here in Australia and as long as they are genuine fans (and not just Rondo fans wearing Rondo jerseys from Foot Locker), I rate them highly. For me, it helps if they were fans prior to the 2008 championship or fans since KG and Pierce were traded.”
Any finals words to share with your fellow Celtics fans?
“I really hope that the team doesn’t retire Ray Allen’s number. I also have some concerns about the team retiring Kevin Garnett’s number. I can understand for retiring Garnett’s number, but is this the same as retiring the numbers of the other Celtic greats?
What other Celtic players who spent the majority of their careers with another team have had their numbers retired? I can only think of Dennis Johnson, who played with Seattle and Phoenix for a total of seven seasons. However, DJ won two championships with the C’s whereas Garnett won only one.
I am a big KG fan, but let’s not forget that KG spent a majority of his career with Minnesota. The criteria for having one’s Celtics number retired must be extremely high otherwise it dilutes the honour for the great Celtics with their numbers in the rafters.”
The criteria for having one’s Celtics number retired must be extremely high otherwise it dilutes the honour for the great Celtics with their numbers in the rafters.
Celtics Down Under immensely thanks Michael for taking part in ‘Green Runs Deep’.
Check out Michael on Twitter at:@MikeRobbo34