Let the Greastest Spectacle on Earth Begin

Celtics vs. Lakers!

One o'clock!

NBA finals!

No need for holding back. The winner receives the NBA championship trophy, the riches of mankind, pleasant words from Brent Musburger and the right to claim permanent possession of composer/maestro John Williams. The loser has to wear sack cloth or a hair shirt - whichever is worse - for an entire year.

Boston vs. Los Angeles!

East vs. West!

Atlantic Ocean vs. Pacific Ocean!

Time to talk about whether my dog's bigger than your dog, whether my father can punch out your father's flourescent lights, whether Larry Bird can shake a little and bake a little in Magic Johnson's face. Or vice-versa. Time to let your mouth run.

Robert (The Chief) Parish vs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar!

Kevin McHale vs. James Worthy!

M.L. Carr vs. Dancing Barry!

Can The Chief run the old Sky Hooker silly? Is this going to be a Hollywoodesque finale to Kareem's record-setting season? Or is he going to be frustrated here,a sad chapter appended to his bestselling, as-told-to autobiography? Can McHale win the sixth-man, extra-starter sideshow? How about M.L. and Dancing Barry and crowd control? Can the Celtics' reserve forward whip the Garden crowd into the same noise-level excitement that the dancing man does with the people in LA? Can Barry come off the bench to hit a three- pointer and play a few minutes of karate defense as M.L. does in Boston?

The Grungy Garden vs. The Fabulous Forum!

Arnold (Red) Auerbach vs. (Dr.) Jerry Buss!

Johnny Most vs. Chick Hearn!

Is an old building with balconies, packed with pushed-together, overheated bodies, a more exciting place than a new building with air conditioning and sightlines that put the cheap tickets somewhere in the landing pattern for LA International Airport? Can the venerable Mr. Auerbach, who has built his teams with the shrewdness of a variety-store owner attacking a summer rec league championship, outwit the gold-card spending of a billionaire? (Remember the last time the Celts tried and failed to handle a Doctor J?) Can broadcaster Most outtalk broadcaster Chick? Put the two of them on a stage and let them argue out a game, one game at full volume, and the decision of a jury count in the best-of-seven series.

Bill Russell vs. Wilt (The Stilt) Chamberlain!

Bob Cousy vs. Jerry West!

Bob McAdoo vs. Bob McAdoo!

Take the films and action pictures of all the games from all the years. Put them on display. Argue about the characters. Wouldn't Russell step onto a court, any court, any time and still put Chamberlain away? Somehow? Wouldn't that happen forever? Wouldn't Cousy still be making those passes that even Magic, even Larry doesn't make? Wouldn't West, hair slicked on the sides, still be hitting that jumper? Wouldn't McAdoo still . . . wait a minute, is that the same Bob McAdoo, the one playing with the Lakers, who played with the Celtics?

Dan Shaughnessy vs. Jack Nicholson!

Bo Winiker vs. Johnny Mathis!

Tom Ellis vs. Johnny Carson!

Is it better to have a sportswriter from The Globe or an Academy Award winner at center court? Is it more inspiring to hear the national anthem played by a local trio of drum, trumpet and organ or by a ranking national celebrity? Is it better to have the results of your game - especially if you lose - discussed in chuckles by a local television anchorman or a man who knows Ed McMahon and Doc Severinsen personally? Local against national. What is the better perspective?

Spenser vs. Marlowe!

Beverly vs. Beverly Hills!

Rockwell vs. Rockwell!

Trouble. If a star is kidnaped, would it be better to have Spenser - that cool and detached modern Boston private eye - working the case than it would be to have Marlowe, that hard-boiled LA investigator? Spenser has the youth, but doesn't Marlowe have the experience? Fans. Is it better to have suburban fans from a normal, old New England city than a gold and pampered velvet pleasure village? Atmosphere. Is it better to come from the area of Norman Rockwell and his Saturday Evening Post vision of life? Or is it better to listen to the advice of Berry Gordy's son that "Somebody's watching me"?

Boston Spring vs. LA Perpetual Sun!

Boston Pollution vs. LA Smog!

Boston Fast Break vs. LA Fast Break!

Time to talk about all the far reaches of this series. Time to talk about the Kennedy Family and Hollywood celebs. Time to talk about fried clams and tacos. Time to wonder what would happen if Boston Mayor Ray Flynn tried to post up LA Mayor Tom Bradley. Time to talk about books against movies, Cape Cod against Malibu and Santa Monica, Maine against Tahoe. (Is that the lake the name "Lakers" means now?) Time to come back to the beginning. Which team is going to be able to run faster, better and more consistently in this track meet? Time to talk about basketball.

Celtics vs. Lakers!

Uh, time to begin.

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