WALTHAM, Mass. -- Friday marked the eve of training camp for the Celtics, but it also commemorated the 10-year anniversary of the current Boston ownership group announcing its purchase of the team.
CEO Wyc Grousbeck, along with fellow managing partners Steve Pagliuca, H. Irving Grousbeck and Robert Epstein, announced on this day 10 years ago that they were purchasing the Boston Celtics, and the venture became official on Dec. 31, 2002, after receiving NBA approval.
"We sat right here 10 years ago, to this day, looked up at the coaches in the perch. We hadn't even met them, announced that we were going to buy this team and try to win Banner 17 and here we are now, with a ring, one banner, counting for more," Grousbeck said at the team's media day. "But I want to thank my partner, Steve, and my other partners for a great run, and thank the fans for supporting us."
Grousbeck and his group cleaned house almost immediately, bringing in general manager Danny Ainge and head coach Doc Rivers, and started with a fresh roster of younger players. While the club certainly had its fair share of down years (consider the 24-58 record of the 2006-2007 team), patience won out, and the trades for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007 propelled Boston into the championship conversation. After winning their first title since 1986 in 2008, Boston has remained at that same competitive level.
That ascension to championship status sticks out to Pagliuca as one of the highlights of the journey.
"Doc, who had taken us through a year when we lost a lot of games in the 2007 season, and seeing that coach -- as you know, that was a rough year, and the roughest position as a coach (is) when you're losing, you're not winning. But he had faith in the talent, faith in the program, and we had faith in him. And to see him get that Gatorade poured on him with the championship and win a championship coming from Orlando, that was a great moment."
Grousbeck said the path wasn't laid out when they first took over, but acknowledged the perseverance that has since won out.
"I know that we didn't know how it would go. We didn't know if we could add to the legacy of the Celtics, run it the right way," said Grousbeck. "We had the best intentions and we had a great ownership group behind us. But that doesn't always translate into being able to go from being an investor to being a CEO of a pro sports team, or managing partner of a pro sports team. We had been investors, and now we're running a business. And it's a business that's important to millions of people.
"It's worked out great. We're not done. It doesn't always work out great. We've had down years. But we're really happy to be here and hope to be here for years to come."