Its Yesterday once more... on ESPN
I know I am very critical of ESPN and their vaudevillian sports act (does every single one of their sportscasters have to have a "schtick"? Can't just one of them do straight work?).
But tonight (I'm writing on Tuesday night) I must say they're doing me right, because they're doing justice to the NBA as it once was. They're replaying Game 6 of the legendary 1987 NBA Finals... broadcast in full exactly as we saw it in our living rooms and bedrooms on June 14th, 1987... all those summers ago -- when the NBA on television meant turn to the CBS network (Remember the old jingle "You'll see the best in basketball when you watch the NBA on CBS"? I grew up on that shit).
Its weird how certain things can take you back in time. The Lakers vs. the Celtics for the NBA championship, played in primetime on a summer night, with Dick Stockton's IBM voice and Tommy Heinsohn's "guy in the bar" commentary cutting the air (I vaguely remember him always babbling about how Larry Bird was "master of the half inch")... that does it for me. Its like I'm back in the 80s. I half expect my mom to yell to me what time does my baseball game starts, or whether I mowed the lawn, or did I know my bike was in the middle of the driveway.
As I remember it, though, this was sort of a melancholy game. In fact, for all intents and purposes, it turned out to be the end game of a glorious era. It was the night we said goodbye to the championship contending years for the Larry Bird Celtics. Those Celtics would never rise to the great stage again. They would be good, but they would never play in another NBA Finals.
The Lakers, on the other hand, still had a little juice left. They would win this championship and then sweep the Pistons the following year. But the Pistons were rising strong in the East, and so was a gentleman who at that time was more of a highlight reel and a television commercial star, but would soon become the greatest player I have ever seen, Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Those two forces would combine to put an ignominious end to the Magic Lakers. But that was later. Let me enjoy what once was just once more.
Anyway, this was kind of a lame post, I realize. But I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the memories, and hopefully on Thursday a new set of memories will be made.
Thursday I will have up my picks to click for what should be a great NBA Finals. As TO would say, "Gich ya popcorn ready".