Sunday, June 8, 2008

Some Historical Perspective

Nacho: When I think back to the epic Lakers/Celtics series from the 80s, I distinctly remember my thoughts on the topic: adding cinnamon to apple sauce creates a nectar of the Gods.

Since both Brethren were still in shorts pants during Magic and Bird's tussles, we'll pass the mic to Cap'n Pappy.

Cap'n Pappy: So, Elvis is in the Army in Germany. The biggest sports event of the era (baseball's World Series) for the first time in forever did not feature the Yankees (White Sox of Nellie Fox, Rudy LaRusso, and Luis Aparicio) but did feature the newest twist in US sports: a professional team on the West Coast (Dodgers of Koufax, Drysdale and Maury Wills). The NFL championship had settled into a dynasty (the Colts beat the New York football Giants in a rematch of the greatest NFL game every played: the Sudden Death Colts victory of Unitas, Raymond Berry, and Alan "The Horse" Ameche). It's 28 degrees in February and yet it's the perfect weather for copying Bob Cousy's behind the back dribble/pass and Elgin Baylor's one hand free throws on the basketball hoop nailed to the garage.

The rest of his thoughts, after...

Cap'n Pappy cont'd The infancy of what would become the NBA's greatest rivalry was just hatching. The MINNEAPOLIS (Great) Lakers of NBA Rookie of the Year Elgin Baylor, Vern Mikkelsen, Rudy LaRusso (yes the baseball player), Hot Ro d Hundley, and Frank Selvy (Yes, that Frank Selvy: the only collegiate basketball player in history to score 100 pts in a game: for Furman against Newberry College) were up against the Boston Celtics of Cousy, Russell, Howell, Sharman, Gene Conley (yes the Red Sox pitcher),the Jones boys, and Satch Sanders (an old version of Cornbread Maxwell).

Why has David Stern wanted so much to have today's Celtics & Lakers back on the court? Well, KG vs Kobie was preceded not only by Chamberlain/Russell and Kareem/McHale. But by Jerry West against Bob Cousy; by Hondo Havlicek, Larry Siegfried, and Don Nelson (yes that Don Nelson) against Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, and Walt Hazzard. Realize that the Celtics were in the NBA finals 11 of 13 years during that time. and the Lakers were their only serious rivals (except for when Wilt was with the 76'ers). This is without mentioning the 80's teams of Magic and Bird (oh and Michael Cooper, Worthy, Byron Scott, AC Green, and Rambo). Possibly the most impressive hit ever recorded on hardwood was a product of this rivalry: the clothesline takedown of Rambis by McHale as Rambis attempts a snowbird layup. In the 1962 finals against the Lakers, Russell pulled down FORTY!!!! rebounds in one game. (Only surpassed by Wilt's 41 rebounds in 1967) Oh yes, and the steal of the inbounds pass that we always hear Johnny Most's overdubbed yelling about Bird pulling off.

That is just a ghostly echo of Havlicek's feat, the game of Dr J and MJ is directly descendant from Elgin Baylor.

Some historical perspective from Capn Pappy.

1 comment:

Trey said...

I may not read every single post written on The Sports Brethren, but there's not a piece by Uncle Beeeeeeeeel that I don't read.