It was in March, a little over a dozen years ago, late in the NBA season of 1999-2000. Then Boston Celtics coach Rick Pitino uttered those famous words…
“Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door, and Robert Parish is not walking through that door,” Pitino said of the Big 3. “What we are is young, exciting, hardworking and going to improve. People don’t realize that. And as soon as they realize that those three guys are not coming through that door, the better this town will be for all of us.”
I thought about that moment in Celtics history Saturday night as I watched the C’s win game 7 against Philly.
I confess that when Ray Allen missed shots, when KG and Pierce looked so tired when they trotted down the floor to play defense, I thought, yeah this is the end of the line for today’s Big-3.
And I also confess that when Ray hit those 3’s down the stretch, when KG and Pierce toughed it out in the 4th quarter, I thought, I’m not ready to say goodbye to these guys just yet.
Isn’t it interesting how some teams, some athletes just keep you on an emotional roller coaster!
I want Ray back in Celtics’ green…no I don’t.
I want KG back next year…no I don’t.
I went back in the record books to check my memory on just what was the timeline when the Bird-McHale-Parish Big-3 days ended. Larry Legend called it quits after the 1991-92 season because of a bad back. McHale played one more season. The Chief played two more seasons with Boston before finishing his career with Charlotte.
Then I went to HoopsHype.com and checked the team rosters and salaries for next year and beyond. Do you realize the Celtics have just five players under their control for 2012-13? Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, JaJuan Johnson and Greg Stiemsma.
So, I’ll watch the Big-3 take on Lebron and his South Beach boys. Maybe, just maybe they’ll win that series and play for the NBA title.
During each game I know I’ll be on that roller coaster.
Father Time has caught up to these guys…no, please bring KG and Ray back…man, they just don’t have any gas left in the tank…wait, if you sign them and add some youth they will stay contenders…
ITEMS FROM THE DUFFEL BAG:
– Here’s my best try at the MLB standings for the-team-in-first-on-Memorial Day-finishes-first-theory. There’s a Red Sox in-last-place feel. Then there’s a Cubs last-place feel. How’s that?
– By the way, when it comes to Dice-K and Aaron Cook, call their situations rehabs or DL stints or whatever. The Sox know Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront can’t pitch anything close to 200 innings. Dice-K, Cook and maybe others will become very important later in the season.
– Baseball America has a list of “college baseball players coaches love but won’t appear on a top prospects list”….UMaine’s Justin Leisenheimer is one of five from the northeast making the list.
– A couple of weeks ago I wrote about “The Curious Case of Quintavious Drains”, the knuckleballer from Jackson State with great statistics and even better name! The update – his team was 2 and done in their conference tournament but don’t blame Mr.Drains. He pitched the opening game of the tourney, 8 solid innings, 2 runs allowed, 4 hits, his team lost 2-0.
– I couldn’t help but notice the nicknames of some of the schools playing in the Division III college world series…the Webster (St.Louis) Gorloks, the St.Thomas (Minn.) Tommies, the Christopher Newport (VA.) Captains, the Wheaton (Mass.) Lyons (with a Y).
– Boston College hockey gets a $5-million-dollar donor gift endowing the head coaching position. And the rich get richer!
– I was double happy when Salty hit that walk-off homer against TB’s Fernando Rodney. Not just the Sox win, but any player who wears his hat like Rodney deserves to be taken deep.
– Saw at least 3 more line drives hit back at the pitcher during high school games last week. Each time I said thank heavens for the new BBCOR bats. I worry what might have happened had the old souped-up bats still been in use.
– Under the it’s-a-small-world-category: The year is 1984. Bangor attorney Jordan Kobritz brings the Maine Guides to Old Orchard Beach, the Triple-A team of the Cleveland Indians. That year the Tribe drafted a 21-year-old pitcher who started in Single-A Waterloo and finished the summer in OOB, starting five games. The kid’s name — John Farrell. The former Sox pitching coach and now Toronto manager.
– Under the it’s-a sign-of-the-times-category: The NY Times story on a company called Varsity Monitor. This company is hired by universities to monitor athletes’ Twitter accounts. Schools likeTexas, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Nebraska pay this company $7,000 to $10,000 a year to monitor social media interaction of athletes for questionable conduct.