Sports writers are among the highest paid in the media world, but for many, the job is a tough one. Many of these writers are known as “sportswriters,” and they are often exposed to the constant criticism of their work. Some of the critiques a sportswriter may face are “the writer didn’t seem to care about the team’s performance,” or “the writer didn’t seem to care about the history of the team’s uniforms.” These things are easy to determine. The real problem is that these people get paid for their work, and if they don’t know what they’re talking about, it could reflect poorly on them.
Last week, our LA Clippers lost an NBA Finals Game 7 in overtime to the Golden State Warriors. Many people watched the game on TV or even in person at a local bar and restaurant, with some fans even paying hundreds of dollars for tickets. After the game, I watched a lot of the post-game interviews with players and coaches, and heard a lot of comments that made me want to write this article. Some people were blaming the loss on the referees, the Warriors’ roster, the coaching, or even the owner. The last one is funny because the Clippers, with their $2 billion in revenue, are the least financially strapped team in the NBA. The Warriors, who received a $1 billion cable deal from Fox, are
Sure, you can still make new friends in the most popular sports teams. But chances are, you can’t get the same kind of relationship with a professional sports team that you can with your college or pro team. And that’s OK. In fact, it’s better. Think of it this way: A player on the Lakers might be able to brag about his relationship with Kobe, for example, but you’re not going to see many Lakers fans boasting about their time watching the Clippers.
Many things are attributed to Larry Bird. He is regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation. He is credited for guiding the Boston Celtics to three NBA championships. Bird’s rivalry with Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers is credited with helping to shape the NBA into what it is today. Bill Walton, a former teammate, goes one step farther and thanks Larry Legend with giving him his life back.
Bill Walton had the potential to be the greatest center of all time.
Larry Bird and Bill Walton | Photo courtesy of Tom Herde/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
William Theodore Walton III, a native of La Mesa, California, is unlike any other NBA player ever. His 6-foot-11 stature, wild red hair, gentle touch, fierce defense, and love of the Grateful Dead are an unrivaled mix.
The big man’s physique couldn’t stand up to the demands of professional basketball, according to an all-too-common tale. According to NBA.com, Dr. Jack Ramsay reportedly compared Walton to a cross between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Walton, though, played fewer than 500 games in his 14-year NBA career, which is sad for him and basketball fans worldwide.
In the early 1970s, Walton won three straight National Championships while playing for John Wooden and UCLA. In the year 1974. He was selected first overall in the NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers.
Despite his many injuries, Grateful Red, as he was known among his colleagues, had an amazing Hall of Fame career. Walton was a two-time NBA All-Star, as well as an All-NBA and All-Defensive team member. In 1977-78, he was named NBA MVP, and in 1985-86, he was named Sixth Man of the Year. He was also a two-time NBA champion as a member of the UCLA Bruins. He led the Blazers to a championship in 1977 and was named Finals MVP. He came off the bench to help Bird win his third championship in 1986.
Walton’s career was marked by hard-won success in Portland and Boston, but he spent five losing, injury-plagued seasons with a newly relocated team, the San Diego Clippers, from 1979 to 1985.
After his tenure with the Clippers, Walton credits Larry Bird for giving him his life back.
Walton can pontificate like no one else, and hearing him tell any story, particularly about Larry Bird, is a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Bird, longtime Boston Globe writer Jackie MacMullan, and other notable Celtics personalities recently shared a platform with the oft-injured center-turned-announcer. When MacMullan went around the dais asking for Bird tales, she had this conversation with Walton:
Bill, you once said that Larry didn’t just give you your career back; he gave you your life back. MacMullan: Bill, you once stated that Larry didn’t just give you your career back; he gave you your life back. What exactly did you mean when you said that?
Walton: Without a doubt. You haven’t spent your whole life with the Clippers. But to know what Larry Bird was like as a human being, not just as a basketball star. And that’s why I’m so honored to be here today.
On Larry Bird, Jackie MacMullan and Bill Walton
Walton goes off on tangents regarding whiskey in his hotel room, the event program, and Celtics coach KC Jones drinking in the locker room for the next three minutes and a half. He did, however, finally get to the part of the narrative when he explained why Bird is so significant to him personally.
“We’re not going to quit,” Bird snarled at an official when Boston was down large, he said. You make sure you don’t give up as well.” The Celtics triumphed in overtime when the Legend went on a scoring spree. Walton shouted, “We didn’t need an aircraft to go home that night.” “Larry Bird, you are incredible!”
After six years of basketball gloom with the Clippers, being able to participate in such a moment has given Walton his life back.
The Boston Celtics won the NBA Championship in 1985-86.
The Celtics of 1985-86 were Larry Bird’s last really outstanding squad. It was the last of Bird’s three championships, as well as his third and final NBA MVP Award.
Throughout the season, the squad was unstoppable. With a 67-15 record, the squad finished first in the Eastern Conference. They even broke the record for the greatest home record ever. The team’s 40 wins and one defeat in the Boston Garden that season was the greatest home record in NBA history until the San Antonio Spurs matched it in 2016-17.
The Celtics had an easy time in the playoffs as well. The club advanced to the NBA Finals by winning 11 games to one over the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, and Milwaukee Bucks. The Houston Rockets were defeated in six games by Walton, Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dany Ainge, Rick Carlisle, and Dennis Johnson, but they still won the NBA.
After winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy, Walton would only play 10 more games in the NBA, but that season, and his friend Larry Bird, gave him his life back.
Basketball Reference provided all stats.
‘There isn’t a White Guy on the Planet Who Can Guard Me,’ Larry Bird once told Charles Barkley during a game.
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