9.24.2008

C's Collect Rings, Raise Banner

1981-82 Boston Celtics

Larry O'Brien, the NBA commissioner, gave out the rings to the returning players, the three coaches, trainer Ray Melchiorre, Red Auerbach and Harry Mangurian. Then Johnny Most called upon a Celtic spokesman to address the crowd.

The crowd murmured. Could it be? Could it possibly be? Oh, yes, it could. The Designated Spokesman was the City Hall Kid himself, Larry Bird. And he was poised, cogent and, well, nearly eloquent, especially when he said that "Harry Mangurian is a great owner. He made a smart move when he signed me." Anyway, it was a great gesture, and it went a long way toward erasing the embarrassment of that memorable day when, as Kevin McHale explained, "Larry became the team dietician."

Most, the emcee, introduced the people as they received their rings from the commish, and when he got to Bird he certainly didn't hold back, calling him "All-Time, All-Universe."-

Gene Shue kept his Bullets in the locker room for the duration of the pregame ceremonies, bringing them out for their warmups only after the 14th championshp banner was raised . . . Charles Bradley airballed both an angled leaner and a corner jumper before settling down late in the second period. His first NBA hoop was a low-post, banked turnaround - his pet move - and he would later throw up two spectacular driving lefthanded three-point plays in his 13- minute stint . . . Terry Duerod electrified his balcony followers by retreating on a fast break and sending a Don Collins shot into downtown Duxbury. "He's just showing a new part of his game," explained Robert Parish.-

The Celtics shot .655 (40-61) in the first three quarters . . . Parish on the proceedings: "We wanted to show people that we were the same team, that we hadn't gotten big heads." . . . Chris Ford, who hadn't played a game in exactly three weeks, had the honor of having the first basket, a nice drive, and the season's first three-pointer . . . Washington got a good game from center Ricky Mahorn (15 points, 12 rebounds) . . . Best new balcony sign: "We Like The Hick From French Lick." . . . Celtics take on Milwaukee tonight (9, Ch. 4, WRKO) . . . When the title flag was raised the fans waved their white- and-green Celtic hankies provided courtesy of hustling WRKO, which has certainly let the town know which station is airwaving the games.

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