Lakers/Celtics Stories: Some Favorites

Kurt —  September 9, 2009

NBA Finals Game 3: Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
There were a lot of great stories in the comments, and I’ve decided to give a few a little more play. (For the record, it is Converse and not I that chooses who the five winners of the shoes will be — and to learn more about the shoes click here.)

Or, as Chris J. said: “The Converse Weapon, that’s the shoe/that let’s Magic do what he was born to do”

Also, be sure to check out some of the great responses over at Celtics Hub.

Jason Lodge

Ever since I was a kid and my dad passed on his love of the Lakers I’ve had highlight reels going through my head whenever I play ball.

When I make a great pass, I’m Magic. Impossible layups and I’m thinking Worthy. Skinning my knees diving for the ball and I’m Rambis. Any impossible shot that I shouldn’t have taken…if it goes in I’m thinking Kobe. And of course, it’s almost always against the Celtics.

Making it all the way to the 2008 Finals was so great and unexpected, and then losing to the Celtics, especially in such crushing fashion, made me stop watching or reading any sort of sports news until the NBA started up again.

I needed to see redemption.

Suffice to say, I had the 2008 Christmas game between the Lakers and Celtics circled, underlined, and bold-face-typed on my calandar. To me, this was the first real game of the season.

I had the whole morning planned and scheduled. Family breakfast, open presents, GAMETIME!

Enter my sadistic sister, whining about how we all haven’t spent a good day together as a family in forever and she wants us to go out for brunch about an hour away.

Dad and I gently reminded my mom and sister that there was a Laker game on, one which we had been anticipating for five months. In the end, however, it was decided that the the advent of Tivo has made watching a game live obsolete, even a Lakers/Celtics game.

So here we are, lost, an hour and a half from home at 11:30, still looking for the restaurant, and I’m trying so hard to keep that Cristmas spirit from cracking my face open.

Finally, it occurs to Dad that the rental car should have a GPS in the glove compartment and asks me to check. I didn’t find a GPS, but I DID find tickets to the Laker game in there.

Turns out, as soon as the Laker’s schedule came out, the fam started saving to get good seats so we could all go.

It..was…AWESOME. Seeing Kobe start off aggressive and take Ray Allen apart; Gasol and Bynum controlling the paint with passion and effort; Odom standing up to KG and letting him know that this Lakers team was not the one from their previous meetings; Ariza’s reDUNKulous hustle plays; and so much more.

I lost my voice by halftime, I was yelling so much. It didn’t matter though because the crowd was electric. It was the best regular season crowd I was ever a part of. They didn’t even need the jumbotron; everyone just stood and screamed almost from start to finish.

Celebrating that win with my amazing family is not only my favorite Lakers/Celtics memory, it’s my favorite Christmas memory as well, even though I was totally punk’d.

And, yes, I still have that game on Tivo. It is STILL freaking awesome.

Gabriel R.

It was back when I was 7 years old. All I did was play with my friends or with toys.

I went to a friend of my older cousin’s house and they were watching the end of the 7th game of the 1984 finals.

I watched the last 10 or so minutes of the game not understanding the actual game at that age, but somehow I could comprehend the fact that it was an intense match up. Then the clock counted down to zero and all these people in green and white flooded onto the court on the living room TV.

I simply asked, “why are all those people running around and jumping like crazy?” My cousin told me, “they hate L.A.!”

Something inside of me took that as a personal insult, one that I never felt before. I felt L.A. was the best place in the world and nothing could compare. I didn’t understand the history, rivalry and drama the teams had. I just knew deep down inside from that point forward I would be a Lakers fan for life.

Michael

During game 1 of the Finals last year I was standing in line for the bathroom in the Boston Garden, dressed head to toe in Lakers gear, just hoping no one would give me too much grief. When all of a sudden the two guys in back of me, who were arguing about the Red Sox vs Yankee’s said very loudly “why are we arguing about this when there is a Laker in the room?” Then the entire bathroom, which was packed to the brim, started chanting “Beat LA, Beat LA” as they circled around me, arms entwined, football huddle style. After about 5 minutes of this, they finally let me escape.
Then when I was outside the bathroom the original guy who announced my presence, comes up to me and says ” I hope they weren’t too rough to you in there, but I bet you dress differently next time.” In which I replied, ” I didn’t fly 3000 miles not to rep my team.” He just looked at me with this crazy look of respect in his eyes and said “yeah, I guess we both have been waiting for this for a very long time, be safe.” There was just something about that moment, about the look in his eyes, that showed me that the best part of a rivalry is that you are never in it alone.

Texas Rob

As a 14 yr old in Colorado Springs that wasn’t really into sports I was clueless. All I knew was a neighbor hood kid I looked up to really liked the LA Rams… Flash Forward Dad gets shipped to TX… Hanging out with new TX buddies… One asked me “What’s your favorite team?” I answered with all the bravado of a sports genius and said “Los Angeles” Then he proceeded to ask “So what’s your favorite Football team?” , then the shock set in… I thought I’d just answered that question. So I stumbled out “…Los Angeles” …. Then of course came the next question “What’s your favorite Baseball team? “ Sweat was now beading up on my forhead and I thought I’d go with it… and said .. you guessed it “Los Angeles” .. The year was 1977 and I was inducted into the Sports world with these three teams. All those teams had decent teams in the following years and I came off looking like I knew what I was talking about. I engrossed myself into Baseball with my buddies .. Garvey, Cey, Russell, Lopes, Baker and all the others were one of a kind. What a great pick!… Well now rolls around 1979… and My buddies clearly into Basketball more than I told me that Los Angeles got Earvin Johnson… I was like …. So? Could there be a bigger understatement? So? Anyways…. He baptized me into basketball and I’ve been nuts ever since. Bonus… I’m 18 now, 1980 and Dad’s favorite team is the Celtics…seems anyone over the age of 40 was a Celtic fan back then… Well needless to say we had serious battles in the living room, it got so bad my Mom would leave the house. He was a Bird fanatic, and I was a Magic man… It’s like Oil and vinager… they just don’t mix!! But it bonded me and my dad in ways that only competition can… constructive arguing with your dad is a commodity that you usually didn’t get…. “Because …I said so” was the norm. So I really don’t have any one moment of the Lakers/Celtics that really sticks out… But I do have a lasting memory of me and Dad collectively cleaning up the room from throwing crap around before my mom got home. Seeing my dad look at me every time Heinsen said something totally homeristic, with that “I told you so” look…. And me, shooting back that same look when they talked about Magic the same way. He bought me Magic gifts for Xmas, and I did the same with Bird. They were our heros, and arch nemesis’ all rolled into one fantastic generation of Basketball.

Chris H.

one of my great memories from the mid 80’s teams was living in Hermosa beach and being a Lakers fan. (I think it was ‘85)

all season, start the day off with the LA times and breakfast at “The Good Stuff” on the strand, reading about the Lakers victory the night before, then switching over to read how the Celtics did, usually they won as well. (what a race that year!)

then during the finals, we had an apartment above the Comedy and Magic store near the pier, with a view of about the first 4 or 5 blocks to the beach, 180 degrees north/south, and big sliding doors open to the ocean. during the finals we could hear the whole town go up in a simultaneous roar on all good Lakers plays, or a huge round of boos if it was against us.
that was a great playoff run that year, enjoying the whole city and being a part of that

JKM

These were early ’80s, I was 6 or 7 years old. At that time I lived in a little town in ex-Yugoslavia, a small but basketball crazy country, as evidenced by all those guys who made it to the NBA. Yes, even Marko Jaric ;) I had a friend, Dejan. He was a few years older than me and, for reasons forgotten, my idol. Maybe it was just looking up to a bigger guy. Anyway, I loved being around him and trusted everything he said.

One day I was at his place and there were posters on the walls with basketball players in yellow uniforms. I know now it’s purple and gold, but that was then. I asked who those guys were. My friend said something along these lines: “NBA is the best basketball league in the world. There are only two teams that count: Lakers and Celtics. Lakers are better. And this is Magic Johnson.”

That moment I was hooked. It’s funny because many years would pass before I got the chance to actually watch an NBA game – on TV. To this day I’ve never gone to the USA. And I don’t now what happened to Dejan. It’s probably 15 years since I last heard about him. But I woke up at 3 AM to watch 2009 finals and I cheered like I cheer no other team.

Yueh_Fei

I was working in Boston during the Lakers’ second championship run in its 3peat.

Before the Western Conference Finals, Lakers vs. Spurs, I found myself getting drunk at a pub arguing with a bunch of Celtics fans. I was a local. The Celtics were dismal but it was hockey playoffs and the pub was packed. I ended up declaring that the Lakers, then underdogs to the Spurs with no home court advantage, would sweep the Spurs in 4. The guys I was arguing with nearly fell out of their chairs with laughter and pretty soon, egged on by all the beer and shots, I ended up betting everyone at the pub, other than the bartender who was trying to stop me.

Of course we know how that championship run turned out. Kobe had two spectacular games at the Alamo Dome that broke the backs of the twin towers (and he was dunking repeatedly over them in Game 1).

For years afterwards I was getting free beers from somebody at that pub. I haven’t been back for some years now but I am pretty sure a whole lot of people still owe me beers.

Darius

I’ve loved all the triumphant moments, for sure. The baby hook, 1985, Magic’s off-balance/one legged/leaning left bank shot that won a game, etc, etc. But, and this may sound strange, the memories/moments that I love the most are the ones that keep me hating the Celtics…Every time I think of the McHale clothesline, every replay of Don Nelson hitting that high bouncing jumper off the back heel, every Celtic fan whining about how 1986 isn’t the same because of the Lakers “choke job” against Houston (when Sampson hit that totally lucky volleyball set looking jumper), every excuse about how in 1987 McHale had a broken foot and everyone was injured so that title is less than worthy, every mention of how we wouldn’t have won in 2008 even with Bynum/Ariza, all the lunacy about how in 2009 they would have won with a healthy KG, how they still have the lead with 17, all the BS about leprechauns and the ghost of Red, all the back and forth I have with my friends who follow that repugnant team….man, just writing that got me ready for the season to start. I really, really don’t like them and every memory that reinforces that is a good one. Those memories just fuel me to dislike them more and root against them harder and savor every victory over them like it’s the only thing that ever mattered.

Like I said, I’ll always love those epic moments where being a fan is rewarded with it’s best reward – the vanquishing of a true rival. But those moments would mean nothing without the hate. So, the memories I love the most are the ones that keep those feelings alive.

Don Jasinski

Following the ‘69 Game-4(?) last second victory shot by the Celtics, my 5?7? roommate was right behind Wilt at mid-court when some arm reached over his shoulder and wailed closed fist into the middle of Chamberlin’s back. My roommate froze and then melted into the center jump circle as Chamberlin whirled and just stared into his eyes before proceeding off the court without saying a word. Wilt Chamberlain taught me to better appreciate sportmanship and champion class acts both on the court that series and off the court that night. I bled Celtic green since 1960 but ever since 1969 I no longer “hate” opposing players and do recognize Celtic pride and teamwork demonstrated by non-Celtic players, too

Gatinho

One of the most maddening aspects of watching the Lakers and Celtics on national TV back in the ’80’s was the fact that ex-coach and mega-homer Tommy Heinsohn was announcing for NBC (I think).

Imagine Mr. Tommy Points announcing a nationally televised game!

Being reared on the “word’s eye view” of Chick Hearn who was fast to criticize the home team, “The Lakers couldn’t beat the Little Sisters of the Poor the way they are playing tonight.”…and would laud the achievements of the visitors if they were deserving.

Hearing Heinsohn on those big Sunday mid season games and even bigger Finals match ups spout his biases was particularly painful. We almost felt that it wasn’t fair that there was no voice in the booth to contradict or reel in Tommy.

This became epitomized by a quote of his that my brother and I still throw out to this day. The circumstances are lost (the game, the year, the site). But we just remember Heinsohn bellowing after a Danny Ainge sacrifice your body hustle play…

“Byron Scott is a great guard, but he’s no Danny Ainge!”

SCinRB

We made it to the Gahden one afternoon and noticed that they wanted money for a 3 minute tour of the parquet. No way was I going to pay a cent for that. So I sauntered around the arena lobby with my wife and 3-1/2 year old daughter in her little Future Lakers Club T-shirt.

Lo and behold there was an open sports bar in the lobby, full of Boston fans. So I went in for a cold refresher. Everyone noticed my shirt and started razzing me, especially the bartenders.

I whispered to my wife, “Honey take a picture of what I am about to do from over by the door,” and grabbed my daughter by her little hand.

I raised my glass to the room and said. “OK you guys are all a bunch of great fans. I’d like to propose a toast.” Everyone, including the bartenders raised glasses.

I yelled out “Here’s to Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers!!!!”

It took a second or two for this to hit everyone before pandemonium broke lose. In that second I drained my glass, picked up my adorable little daughter, and using her as a shield made it out the door through a torrent of abuse and beer!

Unfortunately my wife never got the shot. Funny she was even mad at me for some reason. Guess that’s why she’s now my ex-wife!

My daughter doesn’t remember this, but she’s proud to have been a participant.

John Mooney

I was in Santa Cruz California on vacation with my ex wife (1986). She dragged me out to go shopping when I stumbled into a bar called the Med. The bar was packed with purple and gold clad patrons and one lone celtics fan. Everytime James Worthy took Kevin Mcale to the Rack and scored Dubya–would have to drink. He never made it out of that bar. Nobody knew him or where he was staying. I think Big Game’s Playoff average that year was 23 PTs per game. Dude had NO chance.

The Other Stephen

my favorite memory is recent. it was during the regular season that kg got called for a foul while guarding odom, and as he turned away i saw odom slap him in the a** as if to tell him to keep up the good work. i couldn’t tell for sure, but as they squared up, odom seemed to be saying, “what the f**k you gonna do about it?”

Dunk Specialist

The best moment for me was when the Celtics fans started cheering for MVP for Kobe! For those of us who grew up in the 80’s that was just so impossible. Yes the Celtics had somethihng like an 18 game losing streak and Kobe was scoring 35 a night, but the hatred and bad blood of the 80’s would have never let the old Celtics fan do that. I am sure the older Celtics fans watching on TV were sick to their stomachs.

Jeff

a friend of mine was vacationing in Boston this year, and he’s a Laker fan such as myself. The tour guide was taking them on a tour, and when they passed the Garden, he went on to talk about how the Lakers got murdered in 08. My friend poked his head up and asked what the results of 09 were, cause he was a little foggy on how that year turned out. The guide mumbled something about Selective Memory, and my friend pulled out his Laker Championship hat and wore it the rest of the tour. That story made my day.

st

For me the only Celtics experiences were in the good old days, the mid to late 80’s at Gino’s East Pizza in Manhattan Beach. We would order their thick crust with spinach and pepperoni and pitchers of beer would flow at the bar for everyone during the Finals games against the dreaded Celtics for a two-week period after work and on the weekends, taking over our lives at that time. The unity of Lakers fans just hating and despising the lepprecon’s was unbelievable and just loads of fun. Rooting for Magic, Worthy and sharp-shooting Scott with Kareem in the middle commanded by Pat Riley against Bird, McHale, Parish and Ainge lead by K.C. Jones was about as exciting as it got in those days, maybe ever.

Sean

For a Bostonian friend of mine who had his birthday in July, I bought one of those picture frames that shows a sequence of pictures and loaded the ‘09 Lakers victory celebration into it and sent it to him. He was not very happy! He has to be at work at 6am, so for a week straight he would call me when he got up (2 somethin’ in the morning for me) and play the ‘08 Boston celebration into the speaker. Good times…

Kurt

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14 responses to Lakers/Celtics Stories: Some Favorites

  1. Oddly enough this post reached deep into my core. It has made me think about things that I don’t usually think about. I honestly feel, with no reservation, that the Lakers made me realize what it takes to make a man. Game 4 of the finals 08 made me realize what is important in life. I have honestly loved the Lakers since I was born. It was only 24 years ago in 1985 but I’m still one of the greatest Lakers fans born. I may not have the full perspective as some in this forum have but I will go down fighting for purple & gold. I used to watch the games at the Forum with my dad not realizing these might be last true and real times I spent with him. He is very alive and still well but the zest for life has not been there since he moved several years ago to Minnesota of all places. He taught me to be a good sport about all things in life. The heartbreaking loss to the Celtics in game 4 made me think of the loss I emotionally endured. Albeit an NBA game is superficial in the grand scheme of things but it made me think deeper about conflicts and disappointments in my life. We are privileged and even spoiled to be Lakers fans but there is always a sense of expectation that follows as well. I personally believed that my life mimicked the Lakers to some degree in that I would live life with no reservations and would still come out on top. But I later found out that anyone can lose to the the underdog. Melanie Oudin at the US Open. US against Columbia in the 94 world cup for Godsakes. Basically last year made me realize that we can take losses both personally and professionally with a smile. I hated losing to the Celtics but I feel that no one can truly gain anything until they realize what they have lost. This is a strong driver for why we won the championship this year.

    To me as the underdog that means hanging out with Pops when he is so far away, “winning” a ring with your favorite team. It is just something I have changed my perspective on life in the last few months.

    I may have violated rule 9 on the FB&G handbook but I want everyone to know that maybe sports are more than just a “game” and we can all potentially relate to them in some shape to our life. I apologize to the long post and that I am not as eloquent as FD but trust me I feel the same way about basketball and how sports relate to life.

  2. the other Stephen September 10, 2009 at 6:45 am

    =) i don’t care about winning. it was great to hear some of these stories. i didn’t expect so many to be so wonderful.

  3. I really liked Darius’s story because it highlights the fact that Boston fans are in complete denial of the fact that since 1980 the Lakers have been by far the superior franchise.

    The KG trade was just as much of a steal as the Gasol trade, but we turned it into a title and a potential dynasty while the C’s turned KG into a title and maybe 2 more years of contending.

  4. I’m can’t believe Ron-Ron stole my screen name.

  5. Wow the Celtics stories are downright awful right now. By that I mean, most of them aren’t stories. One is just a jab at the uniform colors. Another poor man seems to think the Celtics won the title in 2007. Another guy doesn’t seem to understand the concept of a personal “story” and just writes a post about why he hates the Lakers (which I could sum up as “Lakers suxors! teehee lol”).

    The few who offer stories, it’s more along the lines of “my friend had Lakers posters, so I said the Lakers sucked.” I understand the Garden was empty from about 1995 – 2007 and Celtics fans didn’t start showing up until a couple years ago, but seriously…I expected more game stories.

    I’ve only made it halfway down the page, I’m hoping there’s some redemption waiting for me, or this is a serious fail on the part of Celtics fans.

  6. The Celtics stories are awful because so few of the posters were alive the last time the Celtics were relevant.

  7. I am going to make a t-shirt out of this quote, with the caption: “1985–somewhere in Yugoslavia”

    the quote: “NBA is the best basketball league in the world. There are only two teams that count: Lakers and Celtics. Lakers are better. And this is Magic Johnson.”

    Above which will sit a portrait of Magic with that giant smile. Long live Zazzle!

  8. On an off-note, one of my favorite former Lakers – Turiaf – just netted 18 and 14 for France. That’s some serious inside work, I’m happy for Ronny.

  9. Gotta ;ove YouTube… I was hoping someone had posted the old Converse ad.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90fRlMQTdSs

  10. I was in Hong kong alone on a business trip staying at the shangri-la hotel. it was sometime in the morning when I was packing getting ready to go fly home to LA. it was the regular season game from February 2009 in Boston. I called the bellman halfway through the 4th quarter to come and pick up the bags (i figured he’d get there by the end of the game). He came to grab my bags with literally 4 minutes left in regulation. When he saw i was watching the game he said “can i sit down and watch the game with you.” I said “absolutely.” we ended up watching the rest of the game and overtime while both screaming at the tv and hi-fiving eachother. I ended up missing my flight and i had to come back to the hotel for another night. I still think it was worth every penny to stay that extra night. Ive been back to HK 2 times since the game and i still talk to frank (the bellman) about that game.

  11. Re 5. I have a housemate who went to college in Boston and lived there untill about 2.5 yrs ago. She would tell me stories about how when she was in school there were always people trying to give away free Celtic game tickets to get people to go to the game. This was pre-Garnett and no one was really cared or wanted the tickets because the Celtics s*cked. True fans.

  12. There are some really cool and neat stories here to read from us. I enjoyed many of them, and yes Darius always has something relevant to say at FB&G regarding the Lakers, either present or past. I kind of gave up on the Celtic comments, but anyway, that is just me. That is great Kurt, you started life young, out in a basketball arena.

  13. SCinRB was my favorite story, that took some guts :)