I’m a young cat.
John Bapst Memorial, Class of 2002.
James Madison U., Class of 2006.
The first professional basketball game I distinctly remember watching with great interest was Game Five of the 1994 NBA Finals between the Knicks and the Rockets. The Bronco Game. I was only ten at the time, so I just expected exciting things like car chases to be part of every game. Did I mention I was/am also very dumb?
Being a reluctant member of Generation Y (or whatever the heck they call us) my Celtics history isn’t as … historical as my Dad’s and my Grampy’s recollections. I’ve got one title. They’ve got a baker’s dozen. Those greedy jerks, hoggin’ all the rings.
I vaguely remember the last couple years of Larry, before I really took an active interest in the league. I was raised on Dee Brown and Eric Montross; Dana Barros and Dino Radja; Eric Williams and Antoine Walker; Kenny Anderson and Walter McCarty. Guh.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t seen some incredible games. Paul Pierce’s 46-point Game Five against the Sixers in 2002. The 21-point comeback in Game Three of the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals against the Nets. The Game Four double-overtime against the Nets a year later. A couple Antoine Walker game-winners, followed by shimmies. Everything that’s happened over the past two years.
But the greatest Celtics game I ever saw, I didn’t really see.
Game Five. NBA Finals. 1976. Celtics. Suns.
Every day after school, if a Chris Farley SNL or a Kids in the Hall episode weren’t on Comedy Central, I’d flip over to ESPN and one of those late-eighties/early-nineties “Ain’t the NBA Great?” shows would be on. My favorite episode and the one they seemed to air most often was Game Five: 1976.
I loved the setup of those shows, cutting from the grainy footage with corny, crackly, warped eighties elevator music to interviews with the players now (then) sitting in some sort of dark black netherworld recalling the glories of yesteryear.