Title run ‘a beautiful thing’ for Northampton native and die-hard Boston Celtics fan Christopher Camposeo

Christopher Camposeo down by the court before a game between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City earlier this season. Camposeo is a lifelong Celtics fan and 2001 graduate of Northampton High School.

Christopher Camposeo down by the court before a game between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City earlier this season. Camposeo is a lifelong Celtics fan and 2001 graduate of Northampton High School. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Christopher Camposeo (right) and his brother Andrew (left) attending Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors at TD Garden in Boston. Camposeo is a lifelong Celtics fan and 2001 graduate of Northampton High School.

Christopher Camposeo (right) and his brother Andrew (left) attending Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors at TD Garden in Boston. Camposeo is a lifelong Celtics fan and 2001 graduate of Northampton High School. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Christopher Camposeo (middle) with his friend Janea (left) and his brother Andrew (right) during a 2024 NBA Finals game between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks at TD Garden in Boston earlier this month. Camposeo is a lifelong Celtics fan and 2001 graduate of Northampton High School.

Christopher Camposeo (middle) with his friend Janea (left) and his brother Andrew (right) during a 2024 NBA Finals game between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks at TD Garden in Boston earlier this month. Camposeo is a lifelong Celtics fan and 2001 graduate of Northampton High School. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

By GARRETT COTE

Staff Writer

Published: 06-21-2024 5:31 PM

Christopher Camposeo couldn’t muster up the energy to fly back to Boston for Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks. Born and raised in Northampton but now living in Miami, Fla., the 41-year old die-hard Celtics fan had already made two trips to TD Garden and one to American Airlines Center in Dallas for Games 1, 2 and 4 in the span of eight days.

Although the urge was there to hop on a plane to Logan International Airport for Monday’s game – the series and championship clincher – and immerse himself in the sea of green, he instead settled into a sports bar down the road from his home in Brickell Village.

The overwhelming noise that comes with watching a sporting event at a bar had never felt quieter to Camposeo as he watched the final minutes of Game 5.

He repelled the sound around him and locked eyes with the biggest television screen in the establishment.

Tears may have fallen from his eyes but his smile couldn’t have told a more contrasting story when ESPN’s broadcast of the game panned to Jayson Tatum. The 26-year old superstar was bent down with his head in his hands, seasoned veteran and fan favorite Al Horford draped over him on the sideline.

Tatum and Horford, along with Camposeo, were emotional in the waning moments of an eventual 106-88 beat down of the Dallas Mavericks. For the first time in 16 years – which feels like an eternity in a city constantly spoiled with championship parades – Boston was back on top of the basketball world, and its 18th title broke a tie with the Lakers for the most in NBA history.

In 2022, the Celtics climbed their way to the Finals before falling in six games to the Golden State Warriors. Last season, they came up one game short of another berth to the big stage – losing in seven games to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Getting back to the mountain top never seemed possible. Until it finally was.

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“I was just so, so happy, because you can’t take anything for granted in life,” Camposeo said. “Sixteen years is a long time, but also not a long time. When we won in 2008, I was like, ‘Wow, I never thought I’d see a championship in my adult life,’ because it had been 22 years since the one before that. So I was devastated after last year watching them in Game 7 against the Heat, and the year before that losing in the Finals. You just start to think, ‘Man, will they ever get over the hump.’ And then they did, and it was just a lot of tears of pure joy for me.”

The term die-hard fan is certainly thrown around loosely, it’s for the most part a self-given title. But Camposeo truly lives and breathes Celtics basketball.

During the regular season alone he traveled up to Boston twice, Madison Square Garden in New York City twice, as well as to Philadelphia and Toronto, and stayed home for two Celtics games in Miami. In the playoffs, he saw three of the five Finals games and a couple of games in Boston’s first-round series with the Heat.

In the Celtics’ previous two deep postseason runs in 2022 and 2023, he went to a handful of NBA Finals, Eastern Conference Finals and regular season games as well.

Camposeo believes there is no putting a price on memories that last a lifetime, and he’s made plenty of them over the last few years.

“It can definitely get pricey, especially when you’re sitting in the lower loge,” Camposeo said. “But it’s my favorite thing to do in life. Some people have things they’re passionate about in life, and my favorite thing is Boston Celtics basketball. My favorite thing to do is go to Celtics games with my family and friends and enjoy championship-caliber basketball front-and-center.”

Starting in 2008, he and his brother made it a tradition to attend every Game 1 of the NBA Finals that involves Boston. His family is exactly what got him into basketball, so going to games with them always makes him appreciate and cherish those moments even more.

Camposeo graduated from Northampton High School in 2001, the third generation of his family to do so, including both of his parents, James and Lori (1974), who now live in South Deerfield. Camposeo was 9 years old when NBA and Celtics legend Larry Bird retired. He has no memory of Boston’s 1984 championship and only vague ones when they hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy in 1986.

But Camposeo will always associate the Celtics with family, because, after all, he started watching them alongside his brother and father. On the first day of kindergarten, Camposeo said he was so scared of going to school that his dad calmed his nerves by telling him that Bill Russell used to throw up before every game – that it was normal to be nervous.

There was always a family connection to the Celtics.

So when Bird miraculously dropped a 49-point triple-double in an epic 152-148 double overtime win on a bad back about a month before his retirement, Camposeo fell in love – his loved ones right beside him in just as much awe.

“My father and uncles were gigantic Celtics fans, and it just trickled down to me,” he said. “I was 9 years old when Bird retired, but I’m old enough to remember watching some of his great games with my brother and dad.”

The end of Bird’s career (1992) essentially marked the end of Boston’s stretch of dominance in the ’80s, and outside of the Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen-led Celtics of 2008, team banners hadn’t been raised in the TD Garden for quite some time.

Yet that’s what made these last few seasons so important to Camposeo – watching two home-grown superstars in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum mature as players and people, leading a team full of humble hard-workers to the promise land after being so close so many times.

This 2024 Boston Celtics team, one that had to deal with the scrutiny and outside noise for 82 games and more, simply did whatever it took to get the job done – a bullish 16-3 postseason record and NBA championship the result.

And because of that, it has brought Christopher Camposeo and his family a lifetime of visual souvenirs and memories to hold onto forever.

“For this particular season, there was always just so much doubt if the Celtics would be able to get over the hump,” Camposeo said. “To see them erase all those doubts and all the negativity in such dominating fashion was so sweet… And this was something that I could relate to with my family: my father and my uncles. All that amazing run of success that they saw, and now, finally, I was able to see it as well. It was just a beautiful thing for sure.”