I've never met
My lasting memory of Bird is a little different. In 1995, I was a fresh-faced teen who had just been handed his dream job: working as a ballboy for the Celtics. Bird was long since retired and had moved into a consultant role, an emeritus position that was created more to keep Bird's name in the media guide than anything else.
Still, Bird made the occasional appearances in the Celtics locker room. During one of those appearances I nearly knocked him to the floor. Boston point guard
"Where you going kid?" asked Bird.
"David Wesley forgot his shoes," I stammered. "I'm going to his car to get them."
A slight frown creased Bird's face. "Tell David Wesley," he said. "He can get his own f------- shoes."
Floored, I turned and walked back into the locker room and relayed Bird's message to Wesley.
"Larry said that?" he said as his face rapidly turned pale. It was as if the principal had just caught him smoking under the bleachers. I don't know what shoes Wesley wore that night, but I know I didn't get them for him and I'm pretty sure he didn't ask anyone else to either.
David Gordon and Larry Bird. Two men with nothing in common, save for forging my allegiance to the teams they played for. I can't remember a better time to be a fan of Boston College. In 1993 everyone thought Gordon's fateful boot would propel BC to new heights, but a week later the Eagles blew an 11-point lead to West Virginia and came crashing down to earth. In the subsequent years BC achieved a modicum of success, rattling off an NCAA best streak of six consecutive bowl game victories, albeit nondescript ones that no one has ever heard of.
But in a way, BC football has almost always let me down. In 2004, the Eagles were on the cusp of a Fiesta Bowl berth when an unranked Syracuse team riding a 10-game road losing streak walked into Chestnut Hill and administered a 43-17 whooping. That game was a microcosm for the what the program had become: they get you to the doorstep but won't get you through the door.
The Celtics wish they were so lucky. I never experienced the glory days of the Big Three, unless you're referring to the toothless troika of
Which is why for so many this season feels so special. Visions of
Just a few miles down the road in Chestnut Hill the feeling is eerily similar. Those that lamented the defection of
What's not to love about the Eagles and Celtics? Nothing. And ask yourself this: How can you not embrace a pair of teams that have God and a leprechaun on their side?