Weekly Countdown: The changing nature of the NBA Finals
BOSTON -- The past provides perspective to the present, he alleged alliteratively ...
"I told them to meet me at my apartment, and then I had the Duck Boat pull up,'' Rivers said. "I had them do the exact [championship] parade routes of the Red Sox and the Patriots -- we went into the water, the whole thing. That was the time we talked about what it was going to take, about giving yourself up for the team and all of that.''
While the four of them rode the old streets and the Charles River while hearing a tour guide describe the rides of the Red Sox, Patriots and
"I had to sell it to them, because I had to get them to give up some of the things they've always done,'' Rivers said. "And I knew I would hear, 'What I've always done is this. ... This is how I've done it ...' "
The virtual preseason parade served its purpose. When the Celtics beat Detroit to earn their first trip to the NBA Finals in 21 years, they recalled how the Duck Tour had persuaded them to see the big picture.
"We knew what our goals were, what we were pushing for and what we were trying to accomplish,'' Allen said."Throughout the season, I would say, 'Kevin, remember when we rode the Duck, why we rode the Duck.' We had that feeling of what we want to be.''
When Boston point guard
"Right now, we're getting $450 to $475 for the worst row in the balcony,'' said
But the upper-end seats are more expensive. "We sold two courtside seats for $35,000 to a company in Manhattan that deals with Hollywood,'' Higgins said. "I'm dying to see who's there. They said it's for a woman, which makes me think it might be
During Game 1, I texted Higgins to find out the identity of the buyer. He neither knew nor cared. "No idea ... 35k though,'' he texted back.
The rings have grown larger, more expensive and less comfortable over the years.
"A ring like that, what it stands for is more important than what it actually is made of,'' Weitzman was telling me Thursday. "It's still heavy enough that when I do shooting lectures, I have to take it off.''
Carr inspected the ring and asked Weitzman, "What happened to it?'' He held it up to expose the hole where the center diamond was supposed to be. Weitzman said he had noticed it missing at his hotel in Orlando. "My wife and I were frantically looking through the room,'' he said. They found it on the bathroom vanity, near the sink.
Weitzman explained that the Celtics used to award rings for the first championship won by a player. "
This was news to Carr. His eyes lit up subtly as he cupped the ring like a gambler holding a pair of dice. "How much for the ring?'' he said. "Would you sell it?''
"How much are you offering?'' Weitzman said.
"How about $3,000,'' he said, with a half-smile.
"Maybe if you were offering me 10 times as much we would have something to talk about,'' Weitzman said, extending his hand to take back the ring.
On Thursday, he told me, "The bottom line is that I wouldn't sell it for anything.''
Allen used that anecdote to demonstrate how he felt about helping to reincarnate the league's greatest rivalry. "So it does mean a lot to be a part of this here,'' he said. "We talk about winning, and when you win, you want to win somewhere in a major market, a big city where if you win, it's going to be a big thing for the rest of your life. It's always going to be something that's going to be special to the people, and you're always going to be remembered.''
And that, ultimately, is why this series seems to be so much more important than so many others of recent years. The winner will be worth remembering.
The Lakers were almost imploding less than a year ago, and look how quickly their prospects have changed ... so keep that in mind when assessing their impending dynasty. But when you consider the uncertainty of several contenders in the Western Conference, the frontier is open for the Lakers to seize.
My guess is that Bryant will play well into his mid-30s so long as he believes he can win championships. He has proved to be focused and conditioned to the highest levels, and his shooting will keep him relevant as he ages.
The difficulty for some young players in their hometown comes from having to support so many friends. He faced more demands from people who grew up with him than he would have faced in a new city. It was another distraction he didn't need.
The Warriors may yet re-sign
In any case, the Warriors will be looking to return to the playoffs in an aging conference that may not be quite so intimidating next year. They'll also be counting on another strong year for Davis as he plays for a new contract.
The Spurs can grow younger simply by replacing free agents Horry,
If the Pistons hire
"No matter who you take [in that area], somebody's going to second-guess you,'' a Western GM said. "There is no consensus No. 3 pick.''