Blind Faith: Nantucketer Grant Beebe Tattooed With A 2023 Celtics Championship Banner
David Creed •
A simple rule of thumb Grant Beebe follows in his life is that if you tell him he won’t do something, his urge to do it will only grow stronger. So when Beebe, a sophomore swimmer at UMass Amherst who grew up on Nantucket, was being told by his teammates that he would never get a Boston Celtics 2023 championship banner tattoo on his right thigh, Beebe naturally followed through by getting a Boston Celtics 2023 championship banner tattoo. The only thing is... the playoffs haven't even started yet.
“I would joke about it with the guys and bring it up,” Beebe said. “Then they all were telling me there is no way I would get it and denied I would ever follow through with getting it. That made me just want to get it way more.”
Beebe graduated from Nantucket High School in 2021. He has been a diehard Boston Celtics fan for most of his life and the idea of getting this four-inch tattoo on his thigh first entered his mind after seeing what Jack Bienvenue did last year.
Bienvenue, an 18-year-old Celtics fan at the time who made headlines last year for the enormous Celtic’s 2022 championship banner tattoo he got on his left shoulder, inspired Beebe (even though his prediction never came to pass). He respected Bienvenue’s faith in his team and his commitment to the cause even as the Celtics faltered as last year's NBA Finals moved along and the Golden State Warriors won the Larry O'Brien trophy in six games. Beebe said he wanted to follow in his footsteps.
“I saw him do it and ever since that I have just been like ‘damn, I respect that so much that’s sick,” Beebe said. “That is just the kind of stuff I really like and that kind of commitment. The whole playoffs, every single game pretty much I was just thinking about that guy in the back of my head like ‘alright, we are still in this. Let’s go baby'."
“To make it all the way and come up just short I was like ‘damn that was almost insane. I feel like I have to carry on his legacy.' I had to do it.”
Beebe didn’t need to see much to feel compelled to get permanently inked with a banner that hadn't been earned yet. He had an appointment scheduled in November but circumstances out of his control prevented him from getting it at that time.
“I had the appointment all set and ready to go but then last minute this shop said they only had one artist available on that day and he was not comfortable with this design," Beebe said. "In my head I am like this is obviously not because it is difficult to tattoo because it is pretty simple compared to the other stuff tattoo artists have to be ready for. It is definitely because he was worrying about me regretting this and he didn’t want to be responsible or whatever.”
The cancellation forced Beebe to hold off for months. He said he needed to wait until his UMass swimming team completed its championship meet to reschedule because the thigh needs time to heal and could not be exposed to water. With a full week of rest ahead, Beebe knew now was the time to strike.
But what if the Celtics come up short? What will Beebe do if his faith is not fulfilled by the Celtics in similar fashion to what happened with Bienvenue? Those questions sound like May or June problems, not February problems to Beebe. He said those hypothetical scenarios are the furthest thing from his mind.
“I’m not too worried about that because they are going to win but in the fictional scenario where they lose, at this point, I would probably just keep it the way it is and never change it,” Beebe said. “I had a chance to talk to (Jack Bienvenue) yesterday. I can tell he is so proud to have it. He hasn’t covered it up or changed it at all and that is just so sick. You got to own it. Worst comes to worst, it would just turn into being a great conversation starter for the rest of my life.”
Beebe’s newfound fame will take some getting use to. He said a WBZ video documenting the decision created by reporter Matt Shearer, who was the first person to report on the tattoo, has begun to spread and is posted on Shearer's Twitter account. But photos have also been posted on the ZooMass Instagram account along with Shearer's video to the Instagram story, which has led to mixed reactions from his peers.
“I am walking around campus today and I just see a bunch of people doing double takes while they are walking past me,” Beebe said. “I could easily become a campus celebrity out of this which is kind of sick. But there are also so many haters which is kind of cool too. The fact people are getting so upset for something I put on my body, I mean, it isn’t like it is something politically incorrect or anything. They are just angry that I did it because they think I jinxed the whole season now and I am the reason they are going to lose. To me, that just shows a lack of belief in your team. I clearly believe in the Celtics more than any of those people.”
Beebe said he firmly believes the tattoo will not impact how this Celtics' season ends unless they win the title.
“None of this is supposed to be taken seriously which is why I find it hilarious so many people are getting angry about this,” Beebe said laughing. “They are taking this joke of a thing I did and actually getting upset about it when it doesn’t impact them at all and won’t lead to the Celtics losing. But if they win then yeah it played a role, I was the good luck charm, and I'll need to do the same thing next year probably.”
Beebe walked back the claim of getting a Boston Celtics 2024 championship banner tattoo on his left thigh next season if they win it all this year, but also didn’t entirely rule it out.
“Nah probably wouldn’t get another,” he said laughing. “But then again that would be insane to just do it again on the other thigh.”
Beebe said his clear faith in the team stems from the emergence of Jayson Tatum, who is currently one of the favorites to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award, and fellow superstar Jaylen Brown. But the depth of this team with players like Derrick White, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, and Malcolm Brogdon is what has Beebe bleeding green and believing that banner 18 isn’t far away.
“They were so close last year and one of the main reasons I feel like they didn’t win last year is because those guys hadn’t been in the finals before,” Beebe said. “They weren’t used to that intensity while playing one of the most experienced team, the Golden State Warriors. Now they know what the Finals are like, and I don’t think they will have that period where they need to figure it out.”
Beebe said he wasn't sure if his Dad, Bruce, had seen the tattoo yet or heard the news, so we reached out to the father. He told the Current he had just heard Friday afternoon after he saw an Instagram post but didn't pay much attention to it.
"I didn’t really look at it but then some friends of mine on Nantucket were like ‘hey what about Grant? That’s crazy huh? And it was then where I was like maybe I ought to look at that thing," Beebe said.
Does he think his son will regret this decision?
"No," Bruce Beebe said firmly. "He is just that kind of knucklehead.”
Grant Beebe sees it the same way.
“At the very least, the one thing I can take away from this is that there is a chance Jayson Tatum and Robert Williams are walking around at practice talking about that stupid kid who got a tattoo on his leg already.”