Maybe a Boston Celtics title means media critics will stop hating Millenials, Gen Z | Opinion

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This Boston Celtics team should take its place among the greats in NBA history after beating the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 on Monday and adding an 18-NBA crown to a storied franchise.

But you would hardly get a sense of how great the current Celtics are from listening to a critical sports media that worships past heroes while finding deficiencies in new ones. It almost seems like the head sports honchos ESPN, Fox Sports and everyone else hates Millennial and Gen Z athletes.

Opinion

“What they gonna say now?” said Tatum, 26, to critics who have accused him for years of failing to lift his talented team to a title. But it’s not just Tatum.

It carries over to Luka Doncic, the 25-year-old Mavericks shooter. Then there is 22-year-old Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves, 24-year-old Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers and many more. They’ve all had their hearts questioned, their commitment, seriousness, and maturity. Sure, stars of the past faced heat until coming into their own, but this all feels different to me.

As a 30-year-old NBA fan, I get that the league is going through a transition and some people might not like it. In the context of the NBA championship this year, LeBron James - the all-time leading scorer - was irrelevant. So are Steph Curry, and Draymond Green, to name a few other veterans being displaced by new, fresh, exciting faces. The reality is that we’re in a new era and that might be too harsh for some fans and pundits to admit.

The Celtics championship is proof that a new generation has arrived. The Celtics had a record-breaking year, won 64 games, and demolished all comers in the NBA Playoffs. Do they deserve an asterisk because an older generation of sports commentators led by Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless, and others still pine for James and Curry? No.

Tatum’s Celtics now have the second-best winning percentage in Celtics history. That tops many past Celtics teams filled with NBA legend

The Celtics finished first in the Eastern Conference standings by 14 games, which is the largest margin between No. 1 and No. 2 since 1976.

Boston also became the first team since the 2012-13 Miami Heat to win the East by 10 or more games. The Celtics clinched the league’s top record before 12 teams even clinched a playoff berth.

“That would be really cool but you guys probably are gonna say we didn’t play anybody to get here,” Tatum said during a press interview leading up to the Finals.

Time to turn the page

It’s never easy saying goodbye to your heroes. James has taken the league to new heights in the last 20 years. It seems like yesterday that James played his first regular season game in Sacramento, but it was 2003.

We don’t want to say it, at least not out loud, that James’ retirement will be good for the NBA. It’s true.

The past two decades have centered on one question in the NBA: Michael Jordan or LeBron James? While this has entertained Bayless and Smith, and fans, it has cast a shadow over the league.

James hasn’t featured in the last four NBA finals. Curry has missed four of the last five. Yet the NBA Finals has continued to draw millions of viewers anyway. Despite the same old NBA commentary, a new generation is offering us plenty of reasons to turn the page.

Get on the Tatum train

Tatum proved it Monday night, and all season, that he is a star for the ages. He’s younger than James and Jordan when they won their first titles. He’s gonna have even younger stars gunning for him next season as the NBA pushes in a new direction. It’s a good thing.

You either get on the train or get left behind.