I’ve seen basically every video on Youtube except a couple, but somehow this highlight reel of Jiri Welsch’s NBA career had evaded me…until today, a day that I will henceforth consider to be my birthday. The video is set to “Goodbye,” a lesser single from the Spice Girls’ third album, released in 1998. Jiri Welsch left the NBA in 2006. This video was uploaded in late 2009. Hold your questions.
It basically has every piece of footage of Jiri Welsch ever to pass through a curved lens, including autograph sessions, media interviews, and shootarounds. Everything about it is excellent. Get ready for five minutes you’ll wish you could have back…to watch this highlight mix again!
Probably the best part is at 2:28–right as Sporty (it sounds like Sporty to me) kicks into the chorus and sets up the mix to go into emotional hyperdrive, we get a close-up of Jiri running in slow motion down the court, his hair bobbing almost in rhythm. Just the most incredible combination of image and sound in history.
(IMPORTANT: when the end credits roll and the music fades out, that does not mean the video is over. Stick around for an 100% unironic epilogue highlight of Jiri stealing the ball, going coast-to-coast, and missing a two-handed dunk. You’re welcome.)
But I’m really just using the discovery of this highlight mix as an excuse to remind everyone that Jiri Welsch was essentially the key to Boston basketball’s foreseeable future. For realsies. Click the jump.
I just don’t want people to forget that Jiri Welsch was traded for Rajon Rondo. The Celtics sent him to Cleveland for a 2007 first-round pick, which they in turn traded to Phoenix for the rights to Rajon Rondo during the 2006 draft. That’s it. There’s pretty much a one-for-one relationship between Jiri Welsch and Rondo, in terms of Celtics transactions.
Jiri was actually pretty good in that one 2003-2004 season, when he started 68 games and the Celtics still made the playoffs because the NBA couldn’t wrangle up anyone else on short notice. He was probably that awful team’s best long-range shooter, and could rebound serviceably for a guard. I mean, as far as Czech basketball players go, he was the second coming of George Goddamn Zidek.
But Jiri, still just 31, is now playing in the outermost reaches of darkest Spain. Rajon Rondo is the single most important player on the Boston Celtics.
Take a second to give thanks: for that trade, sure, but mostly to the NBA for letting sentimental Czech people use its copyrighted footage for whatever they want.