Lakers-Celtics rivalry much more contentious back in the '80s
LOS ANGELES -- I hate to sound like an old gasbag claiming that things were always better back in the day ...
But Celtics-Lakers in the 1980s was way more fun than Celtics-Lakers in the 21st century.
I know. I was there. And we had more fun.
Let's start with physical play. Everybody in Los Angeles thought it was a big deal when
Big deal. In 1984
Ah, Max. He was one of the great taunters of all time. When
There was commotion at the Staples Center last Friday when
Smacktalk. That's nothing compared to 1984 when
Garnett might have been a little peeved at Gasol's remark, but today's Celtics and Lakers doesn't have the passion and emotion we witnessed a quarter of a century ago. In those days, the C's and Lakers really hated each other.
The 1980s Lakers always thought the Celtics were playing dirty tricks. They thought
Riley said Red had the heat turned up in the visitor's locker room at the Garden. In the middle of Game 5, a Celtic victory,
After the Celtics lost game 6 in Los Angeles, Maxwell told
When the Celtics won Game 7 back at the Garden, the never-gracious Auerbach said, "You guys were talking about a dynasty the Lakers had. But what dynasty? Here's the only dynasty right here. This team.''
In a book by
A lot of that hated went away when Auerbach died. Red would have made today's Finals more fun. He hated
"The guy picks his spots pretty well,'' Auerbach said when Jackson won with
Trust me when I tell you that if Red had known this was going to happen, he would not have retired from the bench at the age of 48.
Jackson tried to throw some fuel on the grill late Sunday after L.A.'s Game 2 loss. He said he didn't like the officiating. But he had nothing but praise for
Even today's Finals format is less interesting than it was in 1984. That was the last year that the NBA went with the 2-2-1-1-1 rotation. That meant a lot of coast-to-coast flights in the final week of the series. Bird loved the old system and was angry in 1985 when the NBA switched to the 2-3-2 format.
"We had to fly after a game, all night, then practice the next day and play the next night,'' said Bird. "That's what basketball is all about.''
The teams flew on commercial aircraft in those days. So when the Celtics flew back home after the first two games of the 1984 Finals, they were joined by
Tell me that wasn't more fun?