During my childhood, late May and early June were dedicated to watching Larry Bird and Magic Johnson play basketball. Or, at least that’s how it seems today. I don’t remember a great deal of childhood. Leveling and some wilful amnesia have all but erased most of it, but during some magical late- spring evenings during the 80’s there was, the rivalry.
The parkay floor of Boston Garden and the stars sitting alongside the Forum’s court were the backdrop for some of the greatest games of all time. Many consider it the golden age of the NBA. It was pre-Jordan; pre-tattoo era; defense was king.
And now, it’s back. Starting June 5 in Boston the rivalry returns. New locations and new players, but the same magic – I hope.
I haven’t been excited for an NBA series since 1998 when the pre-Reinsdorf-dismantling-them-unnecessarily Bulls took on the Jazz in the finals. The post-Jordan era league has been, until recently, extremely unappealing with too many tattoos and not enough defense. But the latest generation of players appear to be bringing back team offense and good defense – it’s an appealing form of basketball that really hasn’t been in the NBA for 20 years.
Who to cheer for? Frankly, I like them both for different reasons
- The Celtics – During those epic battles in the 80s, I cheered for the Celtics and I like the new big three of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett
- The Lakers – I want to see Phil get his tenth championship because he’s my man from his Bulls days. And, this will be his greatest championship since this team wasn’t really assembled to win a championship
and shut Red Auerbach up.
I like having the NBA back in my life. Frankly, post-college basketball in the US is pretty boring until autumn and the return of college football.
Some other nice signs that the 80s and possibly good years are back in the NBA
- Doug Collins will once again build a Bulls team and have a temperamental young star run him out of town (Michael Beasily)
- The New York Nicks stink. This isn’t a parallel but nice to see.
- Boston defeated Detroit on the way to the championship in a good series.
I’m sure there’s more but I have to run out and buy Michael Jackson’s Thriller before it’s all sold out …