Before the Boston Celtics 2008 championship run, coach Doc Rivers needed to find a word that would unite his players because many of them had never played together before. He invited an African man to speak the time and his speech was remembered for the entire season.
The man told the Celtics that everything at that moment was good for their basketball team and that when adversity strikes, to remember the word “Ubuntu.” The word Ubuntu means that I cannot be all I can be unless my teammate is all he can be. Basically it means everyone must work together and buy in to the ultimate team goal of winning a championship.
After this past Saturday’s atrocious loss to the 6-52 New Jersey Nets, the Celtics seem to have forgotten the tough work and commitment it took to win the championship in 2008. They are not playing for each other, they are playing for themselves. I am not saying the players are playing a more individual based offense, they are trying to do to much so they can get more playing time.
The Celtics are trying to hard. They feel like they have to win. They forget to give the other team respect. The Celtics think because they are the “Celtics” with multiple great players, even hall of fame players, that they can just show up any night and play well.
Doc Rivers told the media after the Nets loss that the system was not the issue. I agree, it is the players mentality, and that is scary with all the experienced veterans in the Boston locker room.