Taylor: You can't beat college basketball

We've recently witnessed the Boston Celtics win their first title since the passing of Red Auerbach. With all the rich tradition of the Celtics and a team like the Lakers you still can't beat college basketball; with teams like Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA.

It's hard to beat college basketball.

The Kentucky Wildcats, Louisville Cardinals, the Southeastern Conference, Tobacco Road, the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the topper of course is the NCAA Tournament.

Teams steeped in tradition in the collegiate circles include Kentucky, UCLA, North Carolina and others. Kentucky has its own share of college teams who are competitive within their own league including Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Murray State and others.

Professional basketball has its own identity, not to mention Michael Jordan's impact on the sport. In the pages of history, the Boston Celtics have a tradition steeped with success. Counting their latest achievement, the Celtics have won an NBA record 17 national championships.

Sure, the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers are ranked in the same category as Boston, but the Celtics have long been a power in the league, dating back to the days of the late Red Auerbach.

The team is so rich in tradition that former Kentucky head man and current Louisville coach Rick Pitino couldn't resist the temptation of wasting another stint in the NBA after leaving the Wildcats for the Celtics in 1997.

Basketball in Boston is a big deal.

While Pitino's tenure in Boston wasn't filled with success stories similar to those he enjoyed at Kentucky, one former player — Rajon Rondo — is part of today's headline in the league.

Boston, which won just 24 games last year, more than doubled that amount this time around. In fact, the Celtics weren't even in the playoff picture last season.

Boston general manager Danny Ainge, a key part of the team's last championship squad in 1986, pieced together the current unit which includes Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.

While the current "Big Three" had a big part in the Celtics' success, Rondo had a hand in things, too.

The former Wildcat standout scored 21 points in Game 6 that capped off a championship season.

After Rondo declared that he was leaving following his sophomore season at Kentucky, many skeptics doubted his ability to play in the league.

Most observers, known as experts, said Rondo's size would be a hindrance.

Nearly four years after leaving Lexington, Rondo just added a championship to his list of accomplishments.

Although college basketball is still king in this state, Rondo added local flavor to Boston's accomplishments on the hardwood.

It's good to see Rondo doing well for himself. Maybe Kentucky can give its former standout guard some recognition next year. He deserves it.

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