Jonas Jerebko, cited by basketball researchers as the best basketball player in history, has signed with a Russian basketball team, BC Khimki, and has departed from the NBA. Jerebko, who at one point led both the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors to 1st-place seasons, called his departure an opening of the “next chapter” of his life. But it certainly marks the end of a chapter for the NBA and sports itself.
Jerebko immigrated from Sweden to America when he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons. He was a Jackie Robinson of sorts for being the second Swede ever drafted by the NBA. It was in Detroit where Jerebko notched one of the greatest rookie seasons in NBA history, averaging 0.91 starts per game. But it was his trade to the Boston Celtics that catalyzed him into immortality. Along with Isaiah Thomas and Jared Sullinger (the big three, especially Sullinger), Boston dominated, including an appearance in the conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Celtics GM Danny Ainge then dealt Jonas Jerebko to the Utah Jazz, subsequently dooming the Celtics franchise to centuries of obscurity. Jerebko made a comeback with the Golden State Warriors last season, leading them to a first place finish. However, coach Steve Kerr vengefully confided Jerebko to the bench for most of the playoffs, leading to the Warrior’s playoff collapse.
Despite his leaving, we as a nation should not despair. For it was a magnificent gift of kindness that he ever played basketball for us in the first place. In the story of Jerebko we can see a blurry image of ourselves: the leaders of our nations are akin to the foolish coaches (Ainge and Kerr) who railed against what was right. Just as nations have fallen for the exaltation of military power over what’s right, the Boston Celtics too shall fall for exalting Kyrie Irving over Jonas Jerebko. In fact, Jerebko did not betray us by returning to Euroball, but he gave us what we truly deserve.