I have been waiting for this DVD set with baited breath, and it was well worth the wait.
To be able to pop in a DVD of some of the greatest basketball ever played is a refreshing treat from watching the boring, slow, selfish basketball of today. Watching these games again, it just blows me away how little today's awful, me-me-me players learned from legends like Bird, Magic, McHale, Worthy, etc. This is basketball as its finest.
Celtics-Lakers '84 probably was the best Finals series ever played, and I say that not just because the C's won. It was high intensity, brilliantly played basketball on both sides (Worthy's stolen pass by Henderson notwithstanding). Watching the '81 Celtics-Sixers Game 7 again literally brings chills to me. I was a 16 year old kid at the time, and was literally too nervous to watch the final few minutes. The Sixers led the whole game, and I was getting too discouraged to keep watching. I went into a barn next to our house, which had a converted hoop inside it, and started shooting baskets in nervous energy, imagining every shot to be a comeback by the C's. When I quickly turned the game on the radio, I heard the cigarette-stained voice of Johnny Most gloriously saying the Celtics had just scored nine of the game's last 10 points and had pulled it out, 91-90. Incredible. My gambit worked. I was on Cloud Nine.
Speaking of Most - the most objective, truth-telling play-by-play man of all time ("The gutless way they do things here" - circa Detroit, late '80s), I attended the Johnny Most Basketball Camp in 1977, in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Some of the unforgettable memories include:
-Johnny yelling at his son, Les, to "pick 'em up and lay 'em down" on the court during the many scrimmages of camp.
- Johnny telling us wide-eyed kids of the time "Havlicek Stole the Ball."
-Us asking Johnny what he'd do if we took away all of his cigarettes (he smoked at least two packs of Kool cigarettes per day)? He said he'd "go right back out to my trunk and get another carton."
-Johnny sitting, alone, in the camp's kitchen, watching an episode of "Hawaii 5-O" on a small black and white TV, telling us he couldn't join us yet until he watched the conclusion.
It's all great stuff. I know fans around the country roll their eyes a lot at Boston sports fans, how much they live in the past and think everything of their childhood was the real "glory days", but you simply have no idea unless you were there how special it was to grow up watching this team. In my case, it started with the early '70s era, with Cowens, White, Havlicek, etc., and continued on through the wonderful Bird era. The basketball was incredible, and it will live on forever on this fine DVD.
I would have liked more, of course, including more on the teams that won the '74 and '76 titles - especially the '74 team. That series against Milwaukee for the title, against Kareem, Robertson, etc., was one of the more overlooked Finals ever, in terms of how great it was. Ironically, the best C's team of the '70s was one that didn't win it all. The 1973 Celtics won 68 games, and might have been the best fast-breaking C's team in history. They were a joy to watch, with their passing and teamwork. But Havlicek broke his arm in the playoffs, and the Knicks took advantage with a series win.
Anyway, Celtics fans need to run, not walk, to get this fine set of memories.