Back in 1992, Larry Bird represented the Celtics in the Olympics.
Maybe youve heard about this.
And if so, you probably also know that its now been 20 years and counting since the C's have had another Olympic participant.
Of course, at one point or another, theyve employed a ton of former Olympians: Future Celtics Gary Payton and Shaquille O'Neal won gold in 1996. Payton, KG, Ray Allen and the one-and-only Vin Baker won the 2000 Gold Medal in Athens. Stephon Marbury helped Team USA bring home the bronze in 2004. But Larry Bird is still the only active Celtic to play in the Olympics, and he retired less than 24 hours after winning the gold.
So what gives?
In the time since Bird, I guess there's really only been two legit opportunities. I'm not counting Antoine Walker because he was never really Team USA material. Instead I'm talking about two current C's: Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo.
Pierce was still coming into his own when Team USA went to Sydney in 2000. In 2002, he played for the US in the World Games, but it didn't go well. For one, because the team went 6-3 and finished sixth. For two, because Pierce not the most mature 24-year-old the league has ever seen butted heads with George Karl and Gregg Poppovich. As a result, he was left off the 2004 squad. In 2006, he was named to the National team again, but dropped out of training camp because of elbow surgery. In 2007, he missed out because of shoulder surgery. By 2008, Pierce's Olympic ship had sailed. Call it a combination of bad luck, bad timing and a bad attitude, but it's fair to say that Pierce will leave the game before grabbing the gold.
As for Rondo, we're still unsure of exactly what happened last summer. Did he not make the team because of his bad attitude? Did he have a bad attitude because he wasn't going to make the team? Did he simply not care about representing his country, instead preferring to kick back at home and relax with his family? Whatever the reason, Rondo's not on USA's radar, and with guys like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving and John Wall not going anywhere soon you wonder if he ever will be.
And that's too bad. As great as it is to watch these guys every season, just once it would be fun to have a Celtic go for the gold. It sucks that Boston has to miss out every fourth summer. But everyone once in a while, we're reminded that it's not so bad. That there are a few advantages to being left out of the Olympics.
Los Angeles Clippers @LAClippers PRESS RELEASE: @blakegriffin surgery scheduled >> nba.comclippersnews 16 Jul 12 Reply Retweet Favorite Yeah, so it's not much, but it's a small consolation knowing that Rondo, Pierce and company will spend the summer resting up and getting healthy instead busting their asses on the other side of the world. Still, just one of these year's it would be nice to have an Olympian.
Maybe Avery Bradley for Brazil in 2016?