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Sports documentaries are all the rage these days. 30-for-30. NFL Hard Knocks. The Association. They’re everywhere. I guess coaches just figure their players are going to Tweet everything anyway, so putting a camera in the locker room ultimately is not that big of a deal.

Yesterday, Chris Forsberg wrote on his ESPN blog about this year’s upcoming season of The Association: Boston Celtics:

ESPN will debut a behind-the-scenes documentary following the Boston Celtics next month, with the five-episode series set to give a glimpse of the Green in their quest for Banner 18. Here’s more from a press release from NBA Entertainment:

NBA Entertainment (NBAE), in association with ESPN Films, will present The Association: Boston Celtics, debuting on ESPN on Friday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. ET, prior to the network’s game telecast of the Celtics hosting the Chicago Bulls. This five-part series will follow Boston on its quest for an unprecedented 18th championship banner after the team fell just five points short of a title in last year’s dramatic seven-game NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

NBAE cameras will provide an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at the Celtics throughout the 2010-11 season. From the “Big Three” of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen, to emerging star Rajon Rondo, to new addition and four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal, to charismatic head coach Doc Rivers, The Association: Boston Celtics will focus on one of sports’ most storied franchises. While much of the preseason hype focused on the defending champion Lakers and the new look Miami Heat, viewers will see how the Celtics are working to prove that they never should be overlooked.

Similar to last season’s The Association: Los Angeles Lakers, this year’s series will focus on the season-long journey of an NBA team – but since the subject is the Celtics, it’s impossible to ignore history. The five-episode arc will give context as to how the current version of the team fits into Celtics lore, while also exploring the NBA’s longest-lasting rivalry, the Celtics and the Lakers.

Finally, besides going up close with members of the team, The Association: Boston Celtics will portray another important character in the Celtics’ saga – the city of Boston itself. With the team ingrained in the fabric of one of the most passionate sports cities in the country, the Celtics and their fans share an unbreakable bond forged through a history of resilience and triumph.

After airing on ESPN, episodes will be available as video on demand, including on ESPN.com. Here’s the full broadcast schedule:

Episode 1 – Friday, Dec. 3 – 7 p.m. (30 minutes)
Episode 2 – Friday, Jan. 21 – 7 p.m. (30 minutes)
Episode 3 – Friday, Feb. 25 – 7 p.m. (30 minutes)
Episode 4 – Wednesday, March 16 – 7 p.m. (30 minutes)
Episode 5 – Friday, April 15 – 8 p.m. (60 minutes)

Do the Celtics have a chance to be America’s team this year? I know it seems like a slightly ridiculous notion when you consider how Boston teams are perceived nowadays on the national stage. Not to mention we live in a world where people root for the underdog 99 times out of 100, and at this point it’s pretty clear that the Celtics are one of the favorites.

But I’m expecting big things from this documentary. There’s something particularly intriguing about this year’s Celtic’s team. Maybe it’s Rajon Rondo’s emergence as one of the most exciting athletes in all of sports. Or maybe it’s the refusal of the Big Three to show any signs of complacency. Perhaps it’s the addition of Shaq and all his crazy antics. Or Delonte’s comeback story. I could go on and on.

The point is: ESPN picked a great year to feature the Celtics in this series. Watching the way Miami has struggled to start the season makes you appreciate the success that the Celtics had in 2007-08. Part of the reason I think everyone assumed the Heat would gel right away is because Ray, Paul and KG were able to do so with such ease. But as we are finding out, there’s a lot more to it than raw talent.

The Association hopefully will give us a behind-the-scenes look at all those intangibles that make the Celtics who they are. Chemistry. Camaraderie. Leadership in the locker room. We’ve already seen a little bit of what the Celtics are like off-the-court, whether it’s getting together on Halloween or this weird dance thing. I’m looking forward to seeing more, and I think basketball fans across the country will, too. These documentaries can have polarizing effects on fans (i.e. NY Jets on Hard Knocks), and my inclination is that NBA fans will see the Celtics in a favorable light.

*Note: I write all this under the assumption that people are actually going to watch this series. Last year’s version, The Association: LA Lakers, was shown as a full two-hour special in mid-April, covering the entire 2009-2010 regular season (I admit, I still haven’t seen it. I actually called it quits on Laker documentaries entirely after suffering through Kobe Doin’ Work). This time around, ESPN is smartly electing to broadcast the documentary as a five-part series.

Is anyone else as excited for this as I am? What do you hope to see portrayed in this series?

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Michael Salvucci

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  • Batman

    I'm extremely excited
    Cannot wait for this to air

  • I_Love_Green

    Never watched the Lakers one last year, but everytime I saw it on I always thought of how cool it would be if the Celtics had one featuring them. Now here we are. I'm sure this will be very entertaining.

  • thetruthhurts

    we got the big three, emergence of rondo, in doc we trust, and added shaq to the mix. we now got a documentary coming up…. all we need now is #18

    hope the series is good. sometimes outside documentaries dont do boston sports justice, but hopefully they do it right. go c's

  • JP-

    I'm excited

  • Tom W

    i agree, i'd love to see what the Big three did offseason.

  • Tom W

    After watching some of Pierce's and Robinson's video tweets during training camp, I think this could be both funny and fascinating at the same time. This team has so much chemistry, and they seem to enjoy each other so much. I'm incredibly excited to see what ESPN gets on camera. Even though it'll be slightly less entertaining with the cursing edited out.

  • Rachel

    I'm very excited!
    I bet mark wahlberg will narrate.

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