In the up-and-down world of Boston sports ownership, the Celtics tandem of Wyc Grousbeck, his father Irving Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca, and the Abbey Group, represented by Robert Epstein, has become a model of stability, more like eager fans than impresarios. No one questions their desire to put the best possible team on the court, and they do so with a minimum of fuss from the owners’ box.
This is not a small accomplishment. The Grousbeck/Pagliuca team, which this season is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its then-record purchase of the Celtics, has won over the fans, their North Station neighbors, and the city. Their Shamrock Foundation contributes roughly a million dollars a year to area programs, most of them for children. The Grousbecks, meanwhile, donated $10 million to the Perkins School for the Blind, where Wyc’s son Campbell Grousbeck was a student. And Pagliuca, who ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate in 2010, has emerged as a fully engaged civic leader.
Alas, they can’t claim to have saved the franchise from oblivion, as Patriots owner Robert Kraft did. The championship they won, while deeply satisfying, wasn’t the first in 86 years, as John Henry and his partners can claim of the Red Sox. Nor did it come after 39 years of frustration, like the Bruins’ 2011 title. But the Grousbeck/Pagliuca team brought back Celtics Pride, creating a team that’s as dignified as it is successful. In today’s world of big money sports, that’s a rare accomplishment indeed.
Correction: An earlier version of this editorial omitted a fourth managing partner, The Abbey Group, represented by Robert Epstein.