“Nobody can beat White Mamba”

“Nobody can beat White Mamba”

When he entered the floor in the TD Garden, the spectators rose from the seats. We are not talking about Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett, but Brian Scalabrine, one of the worst players in Celtics history.

It’s the year 2008. With the newly formed team of three great stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen, the Boston Celtics have won the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. For the first time since 1986, the NBA record champion had won an NBA championship again. Brian Scalabrine was not playing a second in the finals. In the entire playoffs, the number 44 never played, even though he was fit and able to. At least he was as fit as a pale, redheaded and slow basketball player can be.

But Scal, as he was known by his many fans, sat on the bench all the time. Anything else would probably have diminished the chances of the championship. Nevertheless, after the finals, the journalists gathered around the 2.06-meter power forward. At the press conference, they asked him how he deals with the fact that he had been sitting on the bench the whole time and thus had had no share in the title.

Scalabrine’s answer surprised the press. “It’s not that hard, you might say now that I have not played for a second, but in five years you will forgot that, and in ten years I am still going to be a champion, in twenty years I’ll tell my children that I played from beginning on, and in thirty years, I’ll tell them that I got the MVP Award, so I’m not really sad that I was sitting on the bench the whole time.” After all, the redhead does not have what makes a good basketball player. Hardly any player was slower. Also, there is almost no Big Man who gets fewer rebounds and acted up in the low post.

So it is no coincidence that Scal became the worst player in the long franchise history of the Boston Celtics in those five years. If a power forward fetches on average more fouls than rebounds, then something cannot be right. After all, the foul limit is already reached with six fouls, and the work under the basket is usually an easy part of a big man.

At the same time, however, the 35th pick of the 2001 NBA Draft became the darling of the masses. Of course, there is the question of where the audience’s unparalleled love for a bank warmer comes from. Scalabrine knew that his skills as a basketball player were minimal. He did not fancy being excellently good and did not take himself too seriously.

He knew he could only help the team through his fighting spirit and entertainer qualities. The rare sight of Scalabrine alone when he entered the court is nothing like it. His massive body rose slowly from the bench; the bright red hair was covered with an unfavorable white (or green) headband. The 2.06 meter forward did not look like a basketball player. With his red hair, unmissable obesity, and lack of muscle, Scalabrine was the image of a Boston-based average Irish fan. Same fans you could find in the stands of the TD Garden. Mostly with a bag of popcorn and a fresh beer in hand. Of course, it was easier to identify with a player who does not differ in appearance from the fans.

But still, if we are speaking of the best: ‘White Mamba’ is without question one of the best nicknames in basketball history and as Scalabrine once said: “Nobody can beat White Mamba.”