I don't remember the first time I paid visit to the Boston Garden in the early 1980s, but I do remember the smell. You walked up the staircases to the upper back of the arena where the incense of boiled hot dogs from the press room gathered with the humidity of the playoff season. The worse the smell, the bigger the series.
While growing up in Oregon as a Canadian son of European immigrants, I would sit on the floor of the family room in front of our TV watching
In the 1980s the NBA wasn't throwing T-shirts into the audience, there were no dance teams and all of the noise was generated by the customers. The music came from
The closest thing to a mascot the Celtics had then, and only for a short time, was an exotic dancer named
This was the golden era of the NBA, and it was achieved without all of the artificial noise and hysteria that is piped in today. Fans knew when to clap without need of a
The visitors locker room for basketball games at the Garden was every bit as small and overheated as the legends say. During the 1985 NBA Finals, I was assigned by the
One night in 1987 I was sitting at the press table behind the basket watching the Celtics struggling to stay with the Detroit Pistons in Game 5 of the conference finals. The Celtics turned the ball over trailing by a point with 5 seconds left, and the building was quiet as no NBA arena is allowed to be today.
Years later I was driving by the old Garden midway through its demolition to make room for its new replacement arena next door: Half of the building had been torn away, while the remainder was just as it had been. Through its gaping hole I could see the yellow balcony seats and the old advertisements on the walls. It was a strange, sad demise.