One of my favorite Lakers/Celtics memories comes from around 1985. As I’ve said here before I worked at the LA Sports Arena as an usher for Clippers games. As it is now, the place was full when the league’s biggest stars came to the Arena — and in the mid 1980s the star teams were the Lakers and Celtics.
Where I was stationed for one Clippers/Celtics game (more like Christians to the lions) was right where the teams walked off the court to go the locker rooms. The Celtics were coming off the floor after the game and McHale and Bird were walking together when they were just past me I decided to yell out. “Easy win, but you can’t do that to the Lakers.”
McHale turned and just glared at me, before just walking on to the locker room. I loved that moment.
We’ve all had moments we loved in the Lakers/Celtics series — maybe it was the baby skyhook; or an encounter you had with a Celtics fan. Whatever it is, I want to hear it.
Forum Blue & Gold along with Celtics Hub is running a contest in cooperation with Converse — the shoes that Magic and Bird wore back in the day. We want to hear about your memories, your personal stories of the rivalry (put them in the comments); I will have a post up with some of the best in the next couple of days. From that, Converse will select their five favorites and those people will win a pair of the new Weapon Evo (so be sure to put your email in the box marked as such when you comment, so we can reach you).
You can learn more about the new Converse Weapon Evo here, and order yourself a pair here.
This should be fun. We want to keep this semi-civil — go ahead and throw a couple elbows, but don’t do anything that would get you kicked out of the game.
Tell us what you love about the rivalry — you could get a new pair of shoes out of the deal, and piss off some Celtics fans in the process. Does it get any better than that?
chris h says
it’s a funny thing, but one of mine is not between the players, or even on the court…
it was Jack Nicholson, at the Garden, taking all the jeers in stride, and I seem to recall him even lighting, (or faking lighting) a cigar… maybe we were winning at that time so it was a “victory cigar” all the more “salt in the wounds”.
that, was a classic moment.
Lakers Nation says
I love how this rivalry started out as the new kid on the block trying to take down the old bully . . . then the 80’s came and we kicked the old bully’s teeth in!
My favorite memory has to be going to the Finals Game last year against the Celtics. Even though we lost the series, I went the one home game that we won! The fans, the staples center . . EVERYTHING was rocking it and I was so proud to be a Lakers Fan. My friend flew down from SF that day to go with me and there was nothing better than talking trash about the Celts coming back from the game!
I don’t care how we do it, but I want No. 18 now already!
So, I can’t take credit for this one, but I’ll pass it along, for it needs to be heard. 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.
I’m a somewhat recent Lakers enthusiast so I don’t have any memories from the classic 80’s battles. However, I do have a recent moment that comes to mind from this past Christmas.
Coming off the heals of that painful ’07-’08 finals, there was a lot of hope and expectation put into that rematch. The defining memory of that game for me was the Kobe pass downcort, Ariza saving it at the baseline and passing back to Sasha for the layup and one. That memory sticks out for me because of the all-out hussle it displayed and from that moment on I just knew this year would be different.
the other Stephen says
i’m not that old, so 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?” word.
I don’t have a confrontational memory between myself with a Celtic fan or a Celtic player, but I do remember recently having a discussion with a Celtic fan on why they were a Celtic fan.
The reason they gave me was what I expected from a bandwagon fan, especially considered that they didn’t really watch basketball, but their reason for liking the Celtics over the Lakers was that they felt the Lakers played selfishly.
I had to stare at them for a few seconds because even during the Shaq/Kobe days, I wouldn’t really call the Lakers playing selfishly, there was still some really beautiful highlight reels of Laker passing, especially between Kobe and Shaq.
And now, we still get to see LO dish to Pau or Kobe to Pau, or Kobe to Fish, Kobe to TA, etc.
I guess it’s just a misperception that a lot of casual fans of the NBA would place on the Lakers if they just listened to the media and not watch the games.
But my favorite moment between a Laker player and a Celtic player has to be Lamar standing up to KG. That was hilarious.
But the most epic capture of the rivalry is probably Magic’s baby hook against the Celtics for the win. That one shot probably cements the rivalry and it’s my favorite.
It was the moment David finally defeated Goliath.
Matt G. says
My favorite Laker/Celtics moment is this one:
I love this one even moreso than Magic’s babyhook from the Finals the previous season. I remember watching this game with a good friend of mine who had the misfortune of being raised a Celtics fan. Such an great in-your-face moment. I just the love the “just got kicked in the nuts AGAIN” look on fans in the Garden. 100% Pure, unadulterated awesome.
Gabriel R. says
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.
(don’t know if that counts or not, but it’s my memory)
I was on a business trip to NY just after the Lakers had defeated the Celtics for the championship, this time in the Gah-den. My best friend, who now lived in Jersey and I decided to take a road trip to the HOF in Springfield. Afterwards, we partied in Boston and walked the streets in Lakers championship t-shirts. No one said boo to us. They all just lowered their heads and walked on by.
the other Stephen says
i’m pretty sure gabriel r.’s story warrants a pair of kicks. preferably the nike zoom kobe iv’s.
John Mooney says
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. Dubya if you are out there…I have your Hat..
I was pretty amused by Odom’s ass slap of Garnett last season . . . but that would have actually meant something had the Lakers taken down the Celtics (instead of Orlando) in last season’s finals.
Didn’t Bird once notoriously swat at, or push, Cooper, in his annoyance at Cooper’s defense on him? Can’t remember exactly.
I guess I have a juvenile appreciate for these cheap evidences of the Lakers one-upping the Celtics . . .
Dunk Specialist says
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. It would be like cheering for the guy that beat you up all through grade school and high school. Just an impossible thing that actually happened.
I’m too young to have been around for the great 80s rivalry, but the recent memory that sticks out the most for me is last year in Boston. The game was close and Lamar was in at the end of the 3rd, I believe. There was some pushing and KG tried to intimidate Odom but Odom got right up into his face and didn’t back down. Odom then went on to dominate the end of the 3rd quarter and beginning of the 4th. He also dominated the entire Cavs front line in the next game as well.
For the record, just to be clear, the kicks will be Converse. They pick the winners, they ship out the shoes. I am simply a conduit of shoeness.
Chris J says
-13 That’s why these Boston “fans” who fell in love with the team they day they landed Garnett are so obnoxious. A few months earlier they were on Kobe’s jock, then all of a sudden they regained their L.A. hatred when their team was suddenly relevant again? Screw those people; they’re not really fans.
I’ll respectfully disagree with PeanutButter in saying the rivalry’s “David defeats Goliath” moment didn’t occur in 1987. It came two years earlier.
The old highlight images of a jubilant Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, arms up in the air slapping high-fives as the seconds ticked off in the 1985 Finals — those are my favorite images of this rivalry.
After so many years of losing to the Celtics, including a choke the prior June and the ’85 Finals opening with the Memorial Day Massacre — to see Kareem, Riley and the others so happy to knock off the hated Celtics, in Boston Garden has to be the best moment in this rivalry.
I am really kicking myself. How did I write that entire post without putting in the phrase “Celtics Suck” once. Man, I am off my game this summer.
favorite memory of the rivalry: 1985 finals, game 4, with seconds left in the game and the score tied at 105 all, and the celts had the ball.
my cousin just finished talking about how big a difference is between being up 3-1 and being tied 2-2, when boston inbounded and dj launched his shot. he nailed it, and the leprechauns celebrated on the floor of the forum.
needless to say, it was depressing. after we finally gained home court advantage by winning one in boston, we lost it back to them on a last second prayer. it started to feel like the ’84 finals all over again, feeling like the tide of this series has turned for the worse. there’s no way of describing just how horrible that felt.
boston would not win another game that season. lakers will beat the celtics for the first time, at boston garden, after winning the next two games.
a similar memory: watching kobe walk off the floor under a hailstorm of green and white confetti after game 6 of the 2008 finals. mamba would come back in ’09 to win the title and the finals mvp (as well as his first olympic gold medal).
these things stick out the most for me because, after hitting bottom with them, the lakers rewarded their faithfuls by coming back and getting to the top.
I grew up in Idaho and was born in 1973. When I was old enough to watch basketball on TV my father (a Celtics fan) would obviously watch with me. I gravitated to the Lakers because their flashy play and hollywood start at courtside seemed to be everything that Idaho was not.
In 1985 the Lakers still had never beaten the Celtics in the NBA finals, a fact my father remided me of when I got a little too excited after a great Lakers play. Then came the 1985 Finals.
Boston had the better record and a history of beating the Lakers. When game 6 rolled around, and the Lakers had a chance to win the title my father pointed out that no team (other than Boston obviously) had ever wn an NBA title on the Boston Garden floor.
Well, in one game, two things changed forever. No one could ever again say that the Lakers had never beaten the Celtics in the Finals (which Jerry Buss pointed out post-game) and the Lakers had won the title on the Boston Garden floor.
I like to think a little bit of that Celtic mistique died that day. I know I’ll never forget it.
oops, I meant hollywood stars (not start) and no team had ever won (not wn)
I need to proofread better.
chris h says
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.
oh yeah, these were the years CBS had Tommy Heinsohn as a (ahem, non-bias, ahem…) commentator, and they had that towel waving dude on the bench for the C’s…what a feeling to DEFEAT that bunch!!
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. Keep ’em coming Celtics fans, you make us thrashing you that much sweeter.
Dan Jasinski says
As a BC freshman, I got to enjoy Bill Russell’s last championship in ’69 (inspite of the boasting New Jersey/New Yorkers’ “Knick dynasty” onset, i.e. not that year). Back then we exuberant fans often stood courtside at the final buzzer. My recollections are that in the finals the Lakers-Celtics averaged about 90 apiece with Jerry West topping Hondo 42 to 37 per game, but the Celts overcoming down 3-2. Nevertheless, Wilt was the Laker star to me. Only by attending (all Knick & Laker playoff games) and seeing the whole picture continuously (lieu restricted TV shots) did I come to appreciate the superlative teamwork and influential presence of my (previously-hated) Celtic arch-rival Chamberlin. My anecdote concerns his personal championship class act. 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
I love how typical Celtics fan (the few who were still there) went from totally buying into the Celtics openly tanking the season to trading for a whole new team falling for that “ubuntu” crap. Now all of a sudden, they hem and haw about “team” and “heart.” Blah blah blah. They eat it up. They think every FA wants to go Boston and pray to their ubuntu god.
Don’t get me wring, they should be proud of their team, but when 75% of your team are mercenaries, the obnoxiousness is unbearable. At least our team was homegrown. Scouted, researched, drafted, and underrated. We were good before Pau. We love our team because they grew up. They were spotted 8 pts in a game to 11.
I think I’ve shared this here before…
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!”
I went through Boston on a family vacation in 1993. I figured I had to do two things while I was there: 1) wear a Lakers shirt the entire time; and 2) cause some form of mischief at the Gahden.
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.
I tell you those Boston fans are animals. But I love to torture them every chance I get.
NBA finals, Magic cutting across the lane, baby skyhook over Bird,Mchale and Parrish, Lakers win. Sweet Baby!
the other Stephen says
hahaha darius…so your hate fuels your love. that blasts my mind.
For me it was the regular season game against the Celtics last year in Boston. I live in Kentucky but I flew out to watch the game, never have I been in a more hostile environment in my life. You can practically taste the hatred that’s shared, and after the game was over I felt so satisfied and so calm it was like living a dream. The Celtics fans that I generally encountered are such loudmouths that I noticed at least 5 different fights with Lakers fans when leaving the building (even caught one on video before the crowd broke it up). I may be a young fan but that moment was the greatest sporting event of my life (and an instant classic game as well). Just the thought of Kobe rising over Paul Pierce and nailing clutch 3’s makes me pee my pants from excitement.
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.
Inspiring post by Kevin over at TH:
Kareem, fists in the air, running back downcourt and yelling after hitting the final skyhook that buried the Celtics in ’85. Everything since then has been gravy.
Texas Rob says
How I came To Love the Lakers and Despise The Celtics.
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.
I woke up at 4:45am on June 17th to catch the Metro train to journey to the 2009 Lakers Championship Parade. I think it was the earliest I have got up for something in my life! With joy in my heart and anxiety in my stomach, my goal was to get into the Coliseum to celebrate with tens of thousands of Laker fans. Although we had just beaten the Orlando Magic in five games, the championship would have been so much more meaningful if we had beaten the classless Celtics, has we all had to endure their Gatorade dousing on their floor just a year ago. On the train I said to myself “oh well,” and was excited to hopefully return the favor to the jerks in 2010…if they make it! Upon getting to the Figueroa at 7:00am, I realized how special an event this was, as well as how difficult it would be to be one of the lucky few to watch the celebration within the coliseum’s gates. Eventually we passed the USC campus to witness the wall full of people, packed like sardines, waiting to get in. For a claustrophobic guy who can’t stand crowds, my instincts told me to just walk away and watch the parade from the street. Thankfully, my brother and his buddies would not allow me to do so and we became one of the sardines pressing up against one another in hopes to get in. I envisioned myself getting trampled on the way in like one of those soccer matches gone bad. To be quite honest, I feared for my life until some idiot showed up to no avail. Up walked this brave soul with a puke green Ray Allen Celtic jersey, making his way to the edge of the crowd that was waiting to enter the Coliseum. At first there were rumblings, and then came the racial slurs along with four-letter words as adjectives. Eventually the imbecile was taking plastic water bottles of his dome with some glass variety just missing him. Eventually the LAPD escorted him away as even they knew he would not last even a mere five minutes more amongst the Laker faithful. Thanks to a worthless Celtic fan that tried to rain on our parade (no pun intended), I instantly felt like I was on the safest place on Earth! Celtics suck!
Raymond D. says
I’ve been a Laker fan since 1983-1984 and my earliest memory comes from that period. This memory is not a good one but one that is always there in the back of my head. Three of my uncles are hardcore LA fans Dodgers, Lakers, and UCLA etc. When I was around 7 years old I happened to come upon them watching the Lakers playing the C’s which I believe was game 7 of the finals. I had no previous knowledge of any sport. I had no idea the significance of the game. Every Laker fan from that period either knows the story or blocks it out. But during the Lakers rally right before the steal one of my uncles sees me and asked who I rooted for and not knowing what was going on and from knowledge that the clover stood for good luck. I said, “the guys in green.” With shock all my uncles yelled “Nooo!” Right around the same time Maxwell steals the ball from Magic. Horrified at what I just done I became a Laker fan since. I know its not a good memory but that pushed me to be a die hard Laker fan.
Magic’s hook. Duh.
And the new Weapons? They can’t touch the originals.
JUST THOUGHT I’D SHARE, not celtics related:
One of the lakers memories that stand out the most to me comes from the 2003-04 western conference finals against the Spurs. I remember my whole family was gathered around the tv watching the game, when my mom called us over to dinner. Frantic, my brother and I rushed to the kitchen, sat in our seats and turned the TV on. My mother had made ribs that day, and we were all excited because it was a treat. Instead of eating, we all were looking at the tv and absorbing the last few minutes of the game. The game went to commercial, and I decided to start eating. My brother and I started to eat, and all the sauce started to go on the table and our hands. Quickly, the game came back on, and that moment, I remember taking a bite into my ribs and watching Tim Duncan drain a 2 pointer for the lead with .04 seconds to go. Everyone in my family started yelling and moaning, cussing out certain players for not playing defense and etc. I dropped the ribs on my plate and was notably upset, about to cry because I felt that the championship run was over. The whole room was quiet, I felt as if my mother was going to cry. She quickly started saying, “It’s over, It’s over, just shut it off.” I begged her to keep the TV on and told her that anything can happen, there is still some time. The next .4 seconds would be one of the most memorable seconds of my life.
Standing in front of the TV, feeling nervous as ever, I see Gary Peyton pass the ball to Fisher who drains the 3 point shot. I start jumping and yelling “I TOLD YOU SOOOOOO!” to my mom. I was about to cry. From that moment on, I started to love the Lakers more. I never had realized what effects sports can have on people. Just the ultimate joy my family and I got from watching that game will never be forgotten.
Watching odom slap kg’s ass than get in his face was an ultimate classic. I wanted to go into the TV and hit KG one more time. Than winning that game by 1 point, and seeing Ray Allen fall to the ground, moaning for a foul, was so sweet to see. I wished the leperchauns looked like that all the time.
This is not my >best< memory, but certainly the most important one. It happened long ago, far, far away from LA or Boston.
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.
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.
Can’t say I’ve got any classic Lakers memories since I’m only 19, but my favorite was the Christmas game last year when we beat Boston in ’08. I grew up in Boston, but could never stand the Celtics. So for Christmas my family went back up to Boston to visit, and we ended up watching the game with a bunch of friends. They were talking trash the days before the game and before it stared. And then I got to laugh at them as we killed their 19 game winning streak.
“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.”
JKM – love it.
chris h says
way off topic, but worth a read today…
looks like our Pau Gasol is back in form –
too bad we didn’t see any news from our other Euro player, oh yeah, he got cut!
(Sasha better bring it this year!)
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…
how much is converse paying for this?
Converse is not paying me/the site anything. Just donating the shoes, and for the middle of summer I thought it a fun idea.
Off topic but it seems negotiations between the NBA and the NBA ref association has broken down and the NBA is threatening to go with replacement refs from the WNBA, NBDL and NCAA for the preseason and the beginning of the regular season until an agreement can be reached. Its just negotiations but I guess it happened in 1995.
I think it is great you guys got this set up with Converse. Nice to see NBA blogs getting some good connections.
Up to Date NBA Trade Rumors
gr8 to know. gr8er ure upfront abt that.
wud hate to see this site turn into a corporate advertising machine.
Chris J says
“The Converse Weapon, that’s the shoe/
that let’s Magic do what he was born to do”
Jason Lodge says
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.
So we finally get to see Zach Randolph and Allen Iverson on the same team. That’s the type of sick, twisted basketball experiment I always wanted to see but never thought any GM would actually try. And with Mayo and Gay? This should be….
….disastrous. But in a fun way, for non-Memphis fans.
Brian P. says
Chris Wallace = Bad GM
Memphis will made a great sleeper NBA2K10 team, because they have guys that can score. However, in the real world, they should be in a lot of entertaining losses.
My favorite twitter post of the day came from Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider):
New Grizz marketing campaign: Gandalf standing at center court pounding his staff and screaming “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”
barry g says
DUDE, awesome story! i prob would’ve been in tears as i was walking to my seat…
New Grizz marketing campaign: Gandalf standing at center court pounding his staff and screaming “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”
Awesome, awesome, awesome.
I think snorted some soda way up to my medulla oblangata after reading that line.
My favorite Lakers/celtics rivalry moment is the here and now:
Watching Boston based sports pundits in denial of the fact that the Lakers won it and deserve it.
Seeing the Celtics respond to the Artest signing by picking up…Rasheed Wallace? I’m sure he won’t cause chemistry issues.
Reading the “deconstructing of Kobe” blog entry on this site that demolished some of the poorest writing Bill Simmons has done (which was fueled by his jealousy of the Laker’s title)
Listening to C’s fans whine about the Gasol steal when the KG trade was just as big of a steal.
Knowing that the Lakers have built a dynasty with a 5 year window while the C’s have built an old team with 1 or 2 years left.
Watching Kobe and Pau kill it at the Olympics while Paul Pierce sits at home and calls himself the best player in the world. (what happened when PP played international ball?)
Finals appearances since 1999:
Titles since 1980:
Basically my favorite moment of this rivalry is Boston fans thinking that it’s still a balanced rivalry.
Great post. I would only amend it thus,
Finals appearances since 87:
Just because it better reflects the length of the Celtics irrelevance (20 years)
I have been a laker fan since 1985 when i was 10 years old and have many, many amazing memories… this one stands out for many, many reasons… let me tell you why.
My 2 best friends in the world are my 2 freshman roomates from college and are huge celtics fans having parents who grew up in new england… so much so that one of them, along with his sophmore year roommate, built a mini replica of the Boston Garden in their dorm room. A replica complete with orange bleacher seats, pennants, scoreboard, and a full size rim and backboard up on the wall (where we played a million games of horse that year) and cost several hundred bucks to clean up and repair at the end of the year.
This was the 1994-95 in the midst of the great Lake Show with Nick, Eddie, Ced, Vlade, etc… teams that i truly loved almost as much as Magic and the boys in the 80’s. We bought 8 tickets from a broker for the final Lakers-celtics game ever played in the Garden (my girlfriend at the time’s father was taking some classes at Harvard that year and he got us the connection). So my 2 best friens and 5 other pals from college (Davidson in NC… home of Steph Curry) piled into 2 cars on a thursday evening and drove straight thru the night to boston skipping all of our friday classes. The drive took about 18 hrs in shifts if i remember correctly. One of the guys had a highschool friend at boston college so we basically got there friday late morning and crashed in the lounge of his dorm at BC for a few hrs. We got up, hopped on the T (the boston train) grabbed a bite at Faneuil Hall and hopped on the T again to the Garden… all the while humming the NBA on NBC theme song… Did i mention that i was about to see the lakers in person for the first time after being a hardcore fan for the previous decade?
Just walking into that building was amazing… you could almost feel the history, the ghosts of rivalries past. As it turned out the other 7 guys were all cheering for the c’s and wearing celtics gear including one lifelong Laker fan who had somehow turned to the darkside. I was proudly rocking my favorite laker hat which i had since i was 10, a “Lakers Basketball” T-shirt, and one other item that i will mention later. I could only see 2 other laker fans from where i was sitting… one in an old satin laker jacket with a sign that read “Bird and Magic Always” who was close to the court and walking around with the sign. the C’s fans harrassed him and tore his sign up.
I settled in next to my best friend (and passionate celtics fan) on one side and a nice season ticket holding boston couple on the other… we spent much of the time outs talking about the old days. The Garden was amazing in its dingy, smelly deliciousness.
Now this was not a great c’s squad… dino radja, dee brown, rick fox, montross, etc… finished the year 35-47 i think. The Lakers handled them all game and the lead hovered around 10 or so and they had a double digit lead at the half. The second half was another story, the celtics put on a furious comeback and ultimately took a 2 point lead with 2.4 seconds left… and if i remember correctly it was their only lead of the game. By this time the Garden was rocking… the “beat L.A.” chant was going full steam and i got goose bumps thinking i was getting to experience live what i had seen on TV so many times. No it wasnt the finals but it might as well have been for me. I was subject to the abuse of my friends and the nice boston couple and i just took it in silence. Del Harris had called timeout for the Lakeshow and i turned to my best friend (he can confirm this) and calmly said “Van Exel is going to hit a three and i’m going to be the only one happy on the way home” to which he responded “whatever dude”. To this day i dont know why i said it… they were only down 2 and could have gone to OT with the supeior talent on their side. But i truly believed what i said.
The Lakers couldnt get the ball in and had to call a second T.O. which only gave the crowd a chance to get more amped and loud. Van Exel runs to the ball, catches it at the elbow 3-point line and increibly fakes left before turning right and firing a turn-around lefty 3 (i think it was over david wesley). The ball seemed to hang in the air forever with celtics faithful on their feet… before… dropping in just as the buzzer and red light went off! the entire crowd sat down as i raised both of my hands into the air… my heart was beating so hard and fast and i didnt know what to do or say… it was unbelieveable the husband of the boston couple punched me in the arm and congratulated me on the win. It was so sweet that i didnt even talk any trash to my pals.
There was no possible better end for my first live Laker game and the final game in the Garden… the last thing that building got from the Lakers was a loss and nothing will ever change that! And i know this is going to sound almost too perfect, but the year before this game i had found a pair of old Converse Laker Weapons at a shoe consignment store in Charlotte, NC… this was an old pair not the ones they remade… they were about a 1/2 size too small but i squeezed my feet into them and i was wearing them for the game. They remain my lucky shoes to this day… i save them for important occasions: when the Lakers are in the finals, when i took my medical board exams, etc… my all time favorite shoes to be sure!
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.
Here are some pictures from my trip to Boston for the Finals.
albert mitchell says
I WAS IN A BAR DOWNTOWM BOSTON AND MET MAGIC JOHNSON BROTHER WHEN THE LAKERS WAS IN TOWN PLAYING THE CELTICS I FIRST THOUGHT HE WAS MAGIC UNTIL HE STOOD UP AND HE WAS A SHORT VERSION THEN I STARTED TALKING TRASH TO HIM ABOUT HOW BOSTON WAS GOING TO BEAT THE LAKERS WE LAUGHED AND CONTINUED TO GRT DRUNK
Michael – Awesome story, way to represent. Boston fans sound either really drunk or really stupid – who huddles around a guy in a bathroom and chants?
The shirt with the giant middle finger at Boston is one of my favorites.
While this moment would have been made even better if the Lakers would have won, my favorite moment started as an innocent trip to Boston that my girlfriend planned for her and I last June. We booked the plane/hotel in April with no thoughts of a potential conflict. As the playoffs played out and the Conference Finals ended, the first thing I went to check was to see if there was any chance I would be in Boston for the first game of the Finals. As it turned out, our flight was scheduled to be en route back to LA during the first game on Thursday night. Needless to say, this was quite disheartening and there was no way for us to change it because my girlfriend had to be at work first thing on Friday morning.
So I set my TiVo prior to leaving hoping that by some miracle I could avoid hearing the score on the way back to LA and went to Boston determined to wear my Lakers sweatshirt as many places as possible. I even spent one morning taking pictures of blown up pictures of the Garnett, Allen, and Pierce that were in the lobby area of the Garden with my Lakers sweatshirt over their jerseys. Safe to say I got more than a few dirty looks from the locals passing by.
While my girlfriend is not a big Lakers fan, she knows how fanatical I am. On the last day of our trip, we went to the airport around 4pm to catch our 6pm flight (game time was 9pm local). When we got to the airport and after we checked our bags in, we were told that there has been a 3 hour delay on our flight. Rather than sit around the airport, we decided to go back into the city and walk around. It killed me watching all the people going to the game and I asked my girlfriend if we could just go to the arena to soak in the atmosphere. After talking some smack to a bunch of Celtics fans and chatting it up with a group of Laker fans that were going to the game we decided to get some ice cream and go back to the airport to make our flight. While my girlfriend was in line, I went to the bathroom, which happened to be located directly across the hallway from the ticket office. I noticed some people outside in a waiting line and decided to casually ask a security officer if there were tickets available. He said there were none, but that if some became available, there is a line outside. I didn’t bother looking to see how many people were in the line so I went back to meet up with my girlfriend. A few minutes later, we get up to leave and for some reason, I decided to take one last detour (this time with my girlfriend) by the ticket office. When I get there, I see that the person who was at the front of the line is now at the ticket window. I ask the security officer and he tells me that one of the luxury suites just went up for sale and that there were about 15 tickets available for $300 each, but that I would have to get in line. Thinking that there were probably dozens of people in line by now, I decide to go look to see how long the line is and notice that there are only about 15 people in line. So I get in line and start thinking about the chance to go to the game even though my bags were checked in on a flight I’m supposed to be on, I had just lost my job 3 weeks prior, and my girlfriend is with me and has work obligations the next morning. As I slowly move towards the front and begin to debate this decision, my girlfriend already resigned herself to knowing that there is no way in hell that I could pass up on a once in a lifetime experience like this and encourages me to get the tickets.
So I finally get to the ticket window not fully convinced that I “should” be doing this, but I knew that I HAD to do it so I turned to the guy and said…”I’ll take two tickets!” Two of the last tickets to the game! We didn’t have a hotel for the night, slept in the playroom at Logan airport for a couple hours before waking up at 4:30am so that I could go to the ticket counter and exchange the boarding passes we had in our hands to new ones for the first flight out in the morning, but it was the most memorable Lakers/Celtics experience I ever had…not to mention one of the best experiences of my life!
Igor Avidon says
Igor Avidon says
My favorite Celtics-Lakers memory will definitely come from this upcoming season when Artest does something incredibly awesome at the Garden (and I’m not talking about basketball statistics)
Magic’s hits the baby sky hook to win game 4 in 87…and Red Auerbach goes nuts..chasing ref Earl Strom in tunnel leading to locker room. Strom turns and chastises Red saying, “Arnold, you’re showing all the class I always knew you had.” I loved that moment because it showed Auerbach’s desperation knowing the Lakers were the better team.
I was on the ESPN/LA Times Laker podcast this week with Brian K. We talk AI and Farmar, among other things:
“Champagne is better than Laim Beer”
I’ll never forget that sign.
Bill Silva says
With Kareem injured Magic Johnson, a 20 year old rookie asks to play center. He scored 42 points, 15 boards, and was the first rookie ever to be named MVP of the playoffs. Top that MJ!
Here are the lyrics to a song I wrote after the Lakers beat the Celtics in the 1987 NBA Finals.
I never got around to making a proper recording of it, but it’s all there in my head with a big drum beat, tasty guitar riffs between some of the verses, and vocals that I guess are best described as being something similar to what Aerosmith/Run DMC did with “Walk This Way” with strong backing vocals accenting certain key words and player names. It’s over 22 years old now and not too many people have seen it, but one very important person did; Mr. Francis Dayle Hearn.
A friend of mine who had season tickets liked the song and vowed to get a copy to Chick, and he did. Before one of the games early on in the 1987/88 season, he made his way up to Chick’s birds-eye-view but was stopped by an usher. When Chick noticed that my friend had something for him, he told the usher to go ahead and let him through. Chick read the lyrics, smiling, and when he was finished said, “This is great! Thank you!”
Here’s my own little tribute to the 1987 World Champion Los Angeles Lakers, and the man who described all of those games to us so wonderfully.
LET’S GO LAKERS!
Let’s hear for the Lakers they’re our favorite team
Led by the Captain his name is Kareem
We got Magic he’s the MVP
He likes to dish it off to James Worthy
Here comes Cooper there goes Scott
They’re gonna break your back with a three point shot
Rambis, the Thompson’s and A.C. Green
They’re crashin’ the boards yeah you know what I mean
Off the bench we’ve got Matthews, Smrek and Branch
It’s over for you now, you don’t stand a chance
Our coach is Pat Riley, Mr. GQ
He always has a game plan that’s gonna to beat you
So watch out Dallas, Portland and Seattle
You better get ready ‘cause we’re going to battle
Houston, Atlanta, the Pistons and Bucks
But most of all the Celtics… Boston sucks!
Let’s hear for the Lakers ’87 World Champs
They run so fast they give the other teams cramps
They launch it and loop it and slam it in your face
There’s not another team that can keep up this pace
Now you better work hard foes over the summer
Or your season next year will be another bummer
Yeah these are the Lakers, they give you no slack
And next year is the year they’ll be going back-to-back!
Boom-boom-ba Chick Hearn
Boom-boom-ba Chick Hearn
(Repeat and fade)