22 years ago today, then-Boston Celtics head coach Rick Pitino ripped into the team’s fanbase with an incredibly memorable rant.
In celebration of this anniversary, a video of the outburst is going viral on Twitter.
“You’re the people being negative. You and some of the fans,” Pitino said during a press conference in 2000. “Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door and Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through the door, they’re gonna be grey and old.”
22 years ago today, Rick Pitino's infamous "Larry Bird is not walking through that door" rant! pic.twitter.com/cCEPEA2Wfv
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Pitino took over as head coach of a rebuilding Celtics team in 1997. The next season, he selected future Hall of Famer Paul Pierce with the 10th overall pick.
“What we are is young, exciting, hard working and going to improve,” he continued. “People don’t realize that. And as soon as they realized that those three guys are not walking through the door, the better this town will be for all of us. Because there are young guys in that room playing their asses off. I wish we had 90 million under the salary cap. I wish we could buy the world. We can’t. The only thing we can do is work hard.”
Though his team had some young, up-and-coming talent, Pitino never logged a winning season through his four years in Boston. As a result, he took plenty of heat from the Celtics faithful.
“All this negativity that’s in this town sucks… It makes the greatest city in the world lousy,” he said. “The only thing that will turn this around is being upbeat and positive, like we are in that locker room… We’re coming with young guys that want to get better, want to play the game and we’re gonna stay positive all the way through. And If you think I’m going to succumb to negativity, you’re wrong. You got the wrong guy.”
Later that season on Jan. 9, 2001, Pitino resigned as head coach/president of the Celtics.