These are not Larry Bird’s Celtics.  And that’s good.

These are not Larry Bird’s Celtics. And that’s good.

When Bill Walton revived and ended his NBA career at the Boston Celtics, he devised a plan on game nights to overcome the city’s famous congested traffic: he took the subway to work.

Imagine a 6-foot-11, 11-foot-tall, powerful red-haired man riding a T, as is known at Harvard Station in Boston. Walton lived recently when the Celtics lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1985-86 championship season and the 1986-87 NBA Finals.

“From the Red Line to the Green Line to the Old Garden,” he said. “And knocking on the walls and ceiling, waving the car and saying, ‘Look, Celtic, we’re gone!'”

In a recent phone interview, Walton added that after six years of injury with dysfunctional and Donald Sterling-owned Clippers in San Diego and Los Angeles, the walks were neither scary nor a cultural shock for a West Coast native.

“It was paradise,” he said.

Old Boston Garden was replaced in 1995 by what is known as TD Garden. However, through the old tunnels for archeological excavations, the suburban junction of the noisy Northern Station, where T’s trolleybuses reach, remains.

There’s also the famous parquet play floor with a few hand-held pieces from the original garden: now 23 retired knitted banners, pretty red faces with Southie accents, and ticket scalpers hiding openly on Causeway Street. .

Marv Albert, the broadcaster of the Hall of Fame, which is making its radio debut, said: Celtics, January 27, 1963 – In Boston, at the age of 21, he was subordinate to Marty Glickman.

He added: “TD Garden is not as glamorous as the Warriors built in San Francisco. There is still an old feeling with the surrounding area and the history of the Celts.

To that end, when the NBA Finals return to Boston for the first time since 2010 – when they hit City for Game 3 on Tuesday night with the aforementioned Golden State Warriors – it will be a bit more elegant, but still a version of the league. old The neighborhood is nostalgic where he grew up.

Years after the Bill Russell-era Celtics won 11 titles from 1957 to 1969, professional basketball became a sexually global sale in Boston or anywhere in the United States. But the NBA was mostly at the North Station, due to the challenging urban design, the NBA was moving from crawling to walking.

It’s been a rough few years, and the losses of Retired Number Celtics have been painful and profound for the survivors of Boston’s unique dynasty. Con Havlicek, no. 17, died in 2019; KC Jones (25) and Tom Heinsohn (15) died in 2020; Sam Jones in 2021 (24); Jo Jo White (10), the star of the 1970s in the two-title team, in 2018.

Again, Boston Globe’s respected columnist Dan Shaughnessy recently met with Bob Cousy (№ 14) and told him, “It’s a really special moment at 93.” He was referring to the Minneapolis-based Lakers franchise, the Celtics’ 22nd championship series, winning 17 of them.

Not a surprising neophyte, however, Shonessi was impressed by the trophy presentations after the Celtics barely escaped from Miami in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. There was Celtics publisher and retired №1 Cedric Maxwell. 31, veteran striker Al Horforda presented the Cousy Conference Championship trophy. Maxwell then handed the most valuable player trophy of the new conference named after Larry Bird to the rising star of the Celtics, Jason Tatum.

“Where else do you get this?” Shaughnessy said before answering the question. “Yankees in baseball.”

For the very young generation of sports journalists to cover the burning of victory cigars by the Celtics’ patriarch, Red Auerbach, from the coaching chair, the Celtics in the Birds of the 1980s were our introduction to the living knowledge of the Celts.

In chairs suitable for third-graders across the base, we watched the Lakers and Celtics dramatically raise the league’s profile in the lens of competition between Magic Johnson and Bird. Reporters from outside the city woke up one morning in early June with deafening alarms and slept in a new chain hotel in Kopli Square, where we swore that Auerbach was a swindler – because the Lakers stayed there.

After the Celtics won Game 7 of the 1984 final, cheering fans ran to the field, and we wondered if Bird and the company – not the Lakers – would survive. We were at risk of suffocating or being crushed in the locker rooms of terribly ventilated guests who did not fit the growing media.

Exhausted by the annoying humidity of the building, we occasionally avoided the rats and went outside, thinking that there was still no place for us to be.

All the memories of Walton’s shrill T on board, although these Celtics did not represent the whole of Boston. In the college project, Bird (retired №33) landed and cleverly traded for the rights of Kevin McHale (32), as well as filling the benches with fringed white players, making him a well-known player. in a league where African-American talent is increasingly dominant. Boston’s black neighborhood rivals preferred Julius Erving’s Philadelphia 76ers or Johnson Lakers.

But the Celtics, whose main talent has been at least black for years, have played 100 percent at home this season. The Boston fan base probably sees this team of retreating defenders as more connected and more united than ever – although visiting color players may claim it’s just mega-guerrilla, not postracial.

Comparisons with former champions are always exaggerated, especially when you remember that the Celts have won a straight championship since 1986. However, some note that strong point guard Marcus Smart is reminiscent of KC Jones and Dennis, Bird’s running partner in the 1980s. Johnson (retired №3). Although Tatum has never been a Bird in the collective thinking of the Boston masses, at the age of 24, he intends to join Robert Parish’s 00 to have a 0.

After all, in 2008 Kevin Garnett (retired number 5) and Paul Pierce (34) needed a title.

The current center, Robert Williams III, is not Russell (retired № 6), but he is 24 years old, an original, local ring protector. Horford, who played Paul Silas in the 1970s, was bought back last season. It was known that the Celtics won many titles in four decades.

With the loss of Gordon Hayward, a Premier League player they signed in 2020, and Kyrie Irving, the best player they traded, to a free agency in 2019, the Celts were more or less assembled than any Auerbach. team. Former general manager Danny Ainge lifted heavy loads with the great help of the Nets, who heisted draft options in a trade that brought Tatum and his interlocutor Jaylen Brown to Pierce and Garnett, who were dying in 2013.

Also, the current Warriors were set up after the departure of Kevin Durant in 2019 without the benefit of a boutique free agent. This series is a welcome variation on the conscious stars that determine the balance of competition, the use of leveragen, which turns off some fans and is considered harmful by some people to the league.

The Celtics certainly play in the same 3-point shooting universe that is stylistically more expanded than anyone by Stephen Curry from Golden State, another trend being challenged by many older fans. And TD Garden is no different from other NBA arenas with its improved culinary delights and the standard in-game experience of Auerbach’s once-head-scratching floor show trick and uninterrupted noise.

Walton preferred to remember his fans getting angry on the road alone on the Green Line. “Knowing Boston, I’m sure nothing has changed,” he said from his home in San Diego.

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