We have been especially lucky sports fans here in Boston. Not only have we had winning teams here in the Hub but we also have had many stars spend the better part of their careers here.
I’m talking about Superstars. These are the players who are not only great on the field, but have that larger than life personality that makes their popularity extend beyond the hardcore sports fans.
We go to the games mostly just to see them in action. We watch on television because they are playing.
The first true Superstar we had was Red Sox legend Ted Williams. The Splendid Splinter was the best hitter of all time but he was much more than that. He was a handsome war hero who feuded with the press. Imagine how big Williams would have been in the age of Twitter and Snapchat?
Then we had Bobby Orr, whose power and grace on the ice made a hockey fan out of just about everyone who saw him play. The Big Bad Bruins transcended the game in New England and it was because of No. 4.
After Bobby, we had Larry Bird, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, and Manny Ramirez. Yes, Manny. He was that type of Superstar you could not take your eyes off of, both on and off the field.
In today’s Boston sports scene, we have three legitimate Superstars. Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and David Ortiz. All three are larger than life personalities, with Brady maybe being the greatest star this city has ever had.
But Boston, we have a problem. Big Papi is calling it quits after this season. Brady will be 39-years-old — ancient for an NFL quarterback — when fans at Patriots training camp will be singing to him in August. And Gronk is always one crushing hit away from a career-ending injury.
So, who is the athlete on the Boston sports scene could you call a budding Superstar? Mookie Betts? Maybe he’ll get there on the field, but does Mookie possess the electric personality required to be in the club? Xander Bogaerts is a very good player, but let’s face it, the kid is pretty boring when speaking to the media. Same for Patrice Bergeron. Great player on the ice, but no spark off the ice. David Price has the on-field credentials, but the duende that Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez had may be missing from the new Sox ace. And no one on the current Celtics roster fits the bill.
So who can be Boston’s next Superstar?
Last week we go all excited when Durant — who is set to become a free agent this summer — said how much he liked the city of Boston when baited by the press. Durant — who has since admitted his Boston comments were no big deal — is not only the player who can bring banner No. 18 to the Celtics. He can bring Superstar power to Boston.
Durant scores, and we love players who can put up big numbers on the court. He plays the game with flair and emotion. He smiles and laughs when he is happy, and snarls when things aren’t going his way. Off the court, Durant is in more commercials than Flo from Progressive. He is a star in every sense of the word.
So Kevin, please come to Boston for the spring time and beyond. The Celtics need you, and so does our star-loving culture.