When I was growing up, I watched NBA basketball for the intensity it's stars brought to the game. Gone were the days of the cocaine riddled, me-first, ABA/NBA merger era. Magic and Bird ushered in a new breath of fresh air. The breeze was dominated by an unselfish nature that was contagious. A sense of national obsession soon followed.
There was no 24-hour news and ESPN hadn't even been thought of yet. Of course, the national media still created a buzz but the fans spread the word. They flocked to NBA arenas to see a true competitive sport. The stars of the 70's were given a renaissance by Bird and Magic. Two men who would rather die than shake hands. They didn't call each other during the off-season and I am sure they never met for "tea" after games.
Larry Bird was too busy getting into bar fights over Miller Lites during the frustrating finals of '85. Bird's now infamous 1985 brawl does not nearly get the attention his challenge to his teammates gets in 1984 as Kevin McHale clothes-lined Kurt Rambis and the Celtics defeated the Lakers in seven games.
Meanwhile, Magic Johnson's trademark smile laughed his way to the NBA championship five times. We all thought he was so nice and always jovial. Truth be told, Magic's sinister smile was tragic for the rest of the league.
Doctor J got involved in the 1980's first of two titles that didn't end up in Boston or LA. The Doctor's desperation to win his first NBA title was satisfied in 1983 when he finally defeated the Lakers. The season prior, the chant of "beat LA" was created in Boston. It was evident that the Celtics were going to fall to the Sixers in the Eastern Conference Finals. As the final buzzer rang on their beloved Celtics, the Boston Garden rained down words of encouragement on their arch rivals of the east. Ironically, Bill Russell called that game for CBS and, as strange as it was, he seemed okay with the Garden encouraging the away team—back then, anything was better than LA winning another title.
Unfortunately for the Doctor, he would have to wait another season for his one and only title.
The second odd-ball title went to the Pistons in 1989. After three attempts, they had finally gotten past the Celtics in 1988, but went on to lose to the other book end out west. The bad boys of the 80's got their second chance to beat LA in 1989 and they fought off Magic's attempt at a three-peat. Finally, the NBA could cheer on a champion that didn't call Boston or LA their home.
Ten years, ten finals appearances by either the Lakers or Celtics. Three titles went to Boston while five went to LA-LA land.
Greedy? If you're not a Lakers or Celtics fan,definitely.
Entertaining? Without a doubt. Every minute of it. So much so that we are still reliving it. We are still trying to recapture those golden moments of an era dominated by just two teams.
The Doctor waited twelve seasons for NBA glory (the ABA doesn't count). Isiah Thomas, arguably one of the toughest and feistiest players ever to lace up, waited eight seasons.
So, with all this hoopla around Michael Jordan's recent comments, where was he during this era?
Jordan was still getting swept in the first round by...READ MORE
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