It's been nearly a decade since the Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, since they hung their 17th banner, since Kevin Garnett tipped back his tear-streaked face into a sea of confetti and bellowed that anything is possible.
Next year will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Celtics' stirring 2008 title, and that team's starting point guard, Rajon Rondo - who now plies his trade for the Chicago Bulls - is planning a celebratory trip for all his championship teammates, with one notable exception.
Despite his vital role in the Celtics' lone title of the 21st century, and their Finals run two years later, Ray Allen apparently still hasn't been forgiven for jumping ship to the rival Miami Heat in the summer of 2012, a couple months after the Heat bounced the Celtics from the Eastern Conference final.
"I asked a couple of the guys. I got a no, a no head shake," Rondo told The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears, when asked why Allen hasn't been invited to the celebration.
"It will be a long story about that, but it is what it is. I don't know a good analogy to put this in. It just wasn't the greatest separation. It wasn't the greatest thing that could've happened to us as a team, a bond. We were at war with (the Heat). To go with the enemy, that's unheard of in sports."
Rondo then seemed to remember what had transpired in Oklahoma City last summer.
"Well, it's not so unheard of," he corrected. "It's damn near common now."
With the wound of Kevin Durant's departure still so fresh, he and the Thunder are understandably a long way from reconciliation. But the Celtics have had five years to make their peace with Allen's decision. This wound apparently runs deep.
"The mindset we had. The guys on our team. You wouldn't do anything like that," Rondo said. "It makes you question that series in the Finals … Who were you for? You didn't bleed green. People think we had a messed up relationship. It's not the greatest. But it's not just me. I called and reached out to a couple of other vets and asked them what they wanted to do with the situation. They told me to stick with what we got (without Allen)."
Rondo said he would've "went with the team" if the consensus was for Allen to be invited. But, as another member of the 2008 Celtics - who chose to remain anonymous - told Spears: "Ray left. He left to the enemy."