Danny Ainge criticizes Tom Brady-Bill Belichick debate with Celtics analogy

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Darren Hartwell
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Ainge cites Celtics example in disdain for Brady-Belichick debate originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The deeper Tom Brady goes into the NFL playoffs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the more the Brady vs. Bill Belichick debate heats up.

It's a discussion that's percolated in New England for years: Does the star quarterback or the genius head coach deserve more credit for the Patriots' unparalleled success over the last two decades?

Brady has proven he can win without Belichick this season by leading a Bucs team that went 7-9 last year to the NFC Championship Game. But the buzz around the age-old debate has gotten too loud for Danny Ainge.

Curran: Brady is putting a stake through his haters' hearts

Early in his weekly interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich," the Boston Celtics president of basketball operations shared his unsolicited opinion on the favorite topic of sports radio hosts.

"Why can’t we as New Englanders just appreciate what a great era we had with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, with nine Super Bowl appearances and six Super Bowl rings, and not just enjoy that instead of have a competition between Belichick and Brady and who's more important?" Ainge said.

"It's so weird to me. It’s like (saying) who was more important, Bill Russell (or) Red Auerbach? Like, no. They both played a big role."

You could probably have a good debate about whether Russell or Auerbach deserves more credit for the Celtics winning 11 championships in 13 years from 1957 to 1969.

But Ainge clearly doesn't care for such an exercise -- especially since one is starting to develop on his own team.

"We even live in a world where with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, everybody's always talking about who's better," Ainge added. "Oh, he's getting better now. He may be better than Jayson. Like, what difference does it make? You need them both. You need them all.

"This internal competition is sometimes created by the outside world not so much by their own existence, and everybody is talking about it, so maybe there are sensitivities that develop about it."

Forsberg: Tatum and Brown are pushing each other to new heights

Young Celtics stars Brown and Tatum appear to have a great relationship and be perfectly fine sharing the spotlight. But it's understandable that Ainge doesn't want chatter about which player is superior to impact that relationship.

Then again, it's a good sign that the Brown vs. Tatum debate has started so soon, because it means both players have ascended to potential franchise cornerstone status.