OK, I admit it. I am the epitome of a ‘front runner’/bandwagon/show up late to the party Bruins fan. I don’t think I watched a Bruins game all year until the playoffs. I’m the first to admit that I lost interest in the team and the sport of hockey.
Growing up in New England, I actually watched the Bruins as much as the Red Sox – Bruins teams that included Rick Middleton, Wayne Cashman, Ray Bourque, Terry O’Reilly, Peter McNab, Stan Jonathan, and on and on. So seeing them compete for the Cup and actually win it for the first time in almost 40 years just brought back a flood of childhood memories. Beyond that, watching this Stanley Cup Final series was just an amazing spectacle of hockey by both teams. Hockey gets a bad rap for being the “4th sport” in the US, but the athleticism and speed at which hockey players can do things on the ice is just amazing.
So now, as I look back at the past 10 years from a personal sports fan perspective, every single one of my teams that I regularly follow – Syracuse basketball (2003), the Red Sox (2004, 2007), the Patriots (2001, 2003, 2004), the Celtics (2008), and a certain hockey team that I irregularly follow – have won championships. Good times, good times!
What I’m liking is the on demand element of the service. Whatever I want to watch is only a few clicks away. Its seamlessly integrated with Netflix, YouTube and many of the top video podcasts out there. I can easily buy/rent movies from iTunes, although Netflix somewhat solves for that. And it enables me to connect to online services like Flickr and other “cloud” services. One big downfall has been the lack of support for “have to watch live” events like sports…but that was recently solved with MLB.TV and NBA League Pass announcing deals with Apple where you can stream any and all league games via Apple TV. For someone like me who’s a Red Sox/Celtics fan living in pseudo – enemy territory (New Jersey…but I do like the Knicks. Long story.), this is a huge win.
But what really pushes it further for me is the seamless integration with the iOS “ecosystem”. Drop a movie in iTunes, and you can easily stream it to your TV via ATV. Want to listen to your music in your TV room via your surround sound speakers, just navigate to your music library and hit play.
I’m not going to get all “tech pundit” on you and say you “have to get it”. Go get a Roku box if you prefer. But go try it. Its only around $100 for either ATV or Roku. You won’t be disappointed.
The ESPN The Magazine NBA Preview issue has comic style illustrations for each NBA team. The Celtics have been dubbed “The Fantastic 5” in an ode to “The Fantastic 4”. The full library of images can be viewed and downloaded at the ESPN Mediazone
This reinforces the amazing potential of Twitter and online communications.
Bill Simmons, the prolific columnist and podcaster from ESPN, is a fellow displaced native New Englander (he chose sunny Los Angeles while I’m in New Jersey…clearly a better decision but I digress…). So with the Celtics making a deep run in the playoffs this year (how about that win vs LeBron and the Cavs last night!!), and he being 3,000 miles away from Boston, he created a Twitter handle @celticschants where he could communicate to folks attending Celtics game to get some chants started during the game. A creative way to demonstrate his loyalty to the hometown team.
So last night during the Celtics game 6 win, he posted this:
And then, during the actual game, when LeBron went to the free throw line, the crowd started going with the chant to the point where it was audibly heard on the ESPN broadcast. Folks may think this is a big ESPN conspiracy but in reading today’s Daily Dime about the Cavs loss and the implications for the LeBron sweepstakes, I could not help but notice this quip from author Chris Sheridan :
The Celtics fans certainly had their fun letting James know their prediction, chanting “New York Knicks” whenever James stepped to the foul line on a night when his triple-double of 27 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists was buttressed by his nine turnovers.
Just awesome. A very creative use of Twitter. Look out Dwight Howard and Orlando, the Twitter-verse will be ready and waiting!
UPDATE: In the NY Times today, even more credit to the @celticschants initiative:
First came the “New York Knicks” chants — a taunt instigated by Bill Simmons, an ESPN columnist and lifelong Celtics fan, via Twitter. In the second quarter, the in-house video camera found a fan wearing a Knicks jersey with James’s name across the shoulders, over the No. 6 — the number James plans to wear next season, wherever he lands.
This brings me back to when I was somewhere between 12 and 15 years old, watching Larry Bird and the rest of the great Celtics teams. This is great. Congrats to KG, PP, Ray Allen and the rest of the team. An amazing turnaround, from worst to first.
A lot has been made about Kobe Bryant and his drive to win a championship on his own, without the likes of Shaq at his side. And there is also his egotistical desire to elevate himself past Jordan.
Well, last night the Lakers blew a 24 point lead. And as Bill Simmons at ESPN put it:
The Kobe-MJ thing … done. Over. Jordan never would have let that happen in the Finals. Ever. Under any circumstances. Nobody is ever allowed to bring this up again.
As it was, last night’s game was one for the ages. If the Celts end up winning this thing (because as the Red Sox have proven in 2004, its not over until its over), the impact of this game will grow exponentially.