1997 - Fool me once, shame on you.
2007 - Fool me twice, shame on me.
No, shame on all of us.
The Ultimate Nightmare has come through for Celtics fans. Not only do we miss out on the two guys who are head-and-shoulders above everyone else in this draft, but we miss out on the next two best players after that. Al Horford and Yi Jianlian may not even be possibilities now.
Number 5? Are you kidding me? Even the most pessimistic Celtics fan couldn't have envisioned such a catastrophic result.
For the Celtics it was as easy as 12.3. Those were their percentage odds of landing the No. 5 pick, by far the lowest possible percentage of any slot they could could have landed in.
But if you plan to live by the lottery, you've got to be prepared to die by the lottery. And die a quick death the Celtics did. And let's be honest, whether it was No. 3 or No. 5, any result but top-two was going to be a disaster. Falling from 3 to 5 is less of a disaster than falling from 2 to 3, but it is a disaster nonetheless. The 5 only magnified the bad luck a few thousand degrees.
So what was all the losing for? All the "yeah, but, at least we'll get Oden or Durant"? All the rooting for hard fought losses, for more pings in the pongs, for more rolls of the dice?
All for one mystical and glorious chance at lottery gold, for visions of leprechauns and lucky clovers, of Red stealing the ping pong ball, underneath to DJ who lays it in.
If the Celtics trademark luck hadn't become a joke yet, it sure is now. "Their mascot is named Lucky? Ha ha!"
In a draft where the three worst teams - Memphis, Boston, and Milwaukee - had a 60 percent chance between them to land the top pick, not a single one of them landed in the top three. These were the three most egregious tankers. Talk about karma.
And how fitting to the current state of the Celtics was the scene in Lottery headquarters on Tuesday night?
There was a guy the Celtics could have had with the No. 7 pick in last year's draft, the NBA's reigning Rookie of the Year, standing alone on the stage after his Trailblazers defied the odds to grab maybe the biggest prize the league has seen in a decade.
The guy who never had a chance to suit up in Green was the guy with the luck after all. And the guy they effectively got for him? The nameplate from his locker in some Causeway street dumpster.
And there was poor Tommy Heinsohn. Trying to put on a brave face, but shock and disappointment were surely coursing through his veins.
Shame on the Celtics for putting the biggest Celtics fan in the world through that, for pinning all the hopes and expectations on their living legend, for trying to bring them luck ... and for possibly making him feel guilty for not bringing home a prize that he had no control over.
Shame on the ownership and management for clearly placing so many of their eggs into one basket -- this lottery night -- and for trying to convince everyone otherwise.
And shame on us - the few, the proud, the Celtics diehards -- for going along with it all.
This isn't the end of the franchise, this isn't the end of hope and possibilities for success, but it's a huge, huge blow. How the team, the management, and the fans bounce back from this, I don't know. It's going to be a very long summer, that's for sure.
And it's a shame we were all in this position to begin with.