I didn't make it for '81. '82. "Beat LA" is where I got my start. In '84 I was still young enough that I wasn't allowed to stay up and watch the pre-Championship playoffs. I think this had more to do with my Dad's MBA study group meeting at our house than my age (8+) or the time, given I was allowed to listen to the radio in my room. And tape the broadcasts, for some reason. Tree Rollins and Sidney Moncrief appear on casette tapes somewhere in this house, along with that George Carlin "Occupation: Foole" tape I made that ends a little early and reveals an old Celtics/ Pistons tilt in which Rick Mahorn dumps Johnny Most's beverage all over the scorer's table.

I made it to '84 and '86. Was there for '85 and '87 too. There for the rise of the Pistons ('88-'90), the faux threat of the Pacers, but all of that was terrific stuff for a sports fan.  Len Bias died, Larry's back turned more trick than back, Kevin's ankle turned into Home Depot, Reggie Lewis' plumbing failed and the next thing you knew, it was just you, Tommy and Rick Fox. When I left for college in 1993, there wasn't anything to leave behind. Gone, there were no reminders the Celtics existed once you left New England.


By the time I got out of college and got settled into something like adulthood, the Celtics were what the Bruins are now, Lucy with the football, just begging you to kick it this time, for reals. I signed on to the Pitino Era, as much out of loyalty to him (who'd made PC basketball into something to respect again) as them. Wiff #1: no Tim Duncan. Wiff #2: they beat the Jordan Bulls on Opening Night, get you hooked and then turtle. For about 5 years. They get Antoine, they get Paul, Paul gets stabbed, they make a fantastic playoff run, if the Eastern Conference Finals were your end goal in life. Even that gets blown up. Rinse and repeat.

Which makes this year so amazing. It's out of nowhere. It's a full-on Victory Garden blooming in a bombed-out alley. Forget Paul, Ray-Ray and KG's amazing intensity. The people that make this year fun from game 1 to whenever it ends are guys like James Posey, Big Baby, the Hollywood story that is Leon Powe. Character guys who show up and go to work. 'EEI callers are insistent on comparing this team to the Patriots even though the Celtics haven't won a thing yet. It feels premature, it feels unnecessary (and it's a little uncomfotable to have Murf the Surf from Dawchestah calling up to talk about "character" black guys, but that's a different history). This run can probably last another two years, but if they don't win a thing and fall apart next year, it was still a hell of a ride.