A stroll down memory lane
As an oldster, I come to this NBA final with a perspective that reaches back to the late 1960s, before I presume many of you were fans but a time when every spring seemed to finish with Celtics-Lakers.
It was tough trying to get anyone else enthused – the neighbourhood was full of 10-year-olds far more interested in playing for the Leafs than watching basketball and ball hockey ruled the day – but it really didn’t matter.
All I know is that Russell-Chamberlain was something to behold and the first replica jersey I owned was a homemade job, one of those old white undershirts with a green No. 6 drawn on the back. Yeah, I was Bill Russell.
I couldn’t understand anyone who hated the Celtics, sports was about winning and the Celtics won. A lot. Sure, Red Auerbach could be a bit of a pain and lighting a victory cigar on the bench was a bit much but, still, it was nice to know that nearly every season ended with a championship.
The only thing about the Lakers I liked, really, was Chick Hearn. I’d take him over Johnny Most any time, any day.
But when I get asked about a favourite moment in the rivalry, I try to plumb the memory banks for something from the 60s. And, unfortunately, a specific moment doesn’t come fresh to mind.
I guess I’ll have to go with ’87 then, Magic’s hook shot that won Game 5 and led the Lakers to another championship win.
You know what the biggest trouble with the Raptors picking No. 17 in the draft is?
In large part, they will have their decision on who to pick made for them.
With so many players of varied size and skill projected in the 10-20 range in the draft, it’s going to come down to who’s left as much as it is who they want.
The thing most fans should worry about is what the teams immediately before the Raptors are going to do rather than what they think Toronto needs, or wants.
Sure, it’s all well and good to say Roy Hibbert’s a perfect fit, or Brandon Rush is the man or Joe Alexander is the biggest sleeper available but other teams may think the same thing.
What’s likely to happen is the Raptors will grade their list of potential picks and whoever’s at the top of it after the 16th pick is made will be No. 17.
Jim K in Newmarket, who obviously had some down time on the computer yesterday, sends these two videos along with the note that follows them:
Hey Doug - I'm getting ready for the finals and learning more about the Celtics Lakers rivalry.
Give us your thoughts on McHale's clothesline on Rambis. The funniest part of the video clip are the commentators talking about strategy and being part of the game. Fast forward to this year and Marvin Williams clobbers Rajon Rondo in a similar way. The commentators are just disgusted.
Different eras, different attitudes. Shows how far things have come, doesn’t it?
I think McHale’s hit was way over the top but, don’t forget, we’re talking about an entirely different time, when stuff like that, while not “acceptable” was more a part of the game.
I, for one, am glad it’s cleaned up a little bit. I’m all for hard fouls and no layups but no shots to the head or clothesline takedowns.
Q: I've got a history question for you. Can you explain why the Charles Oakley for Marcus Camby trade was such a good idea? Retrospectively, at least, it seems like they traded a blossoming star for a guy in his mid 30s who's best days were behind him.
Tim M, Kingston
A: I think “blossoming star” is a stretch when you’re talking about the 1998 Marcus Camby, who had missed a quarter of each of his two seasons with Toronto because of injury and looked horribly fragile. I don’t think you could have found too many people around the league who would have thought he’d stay healthy enough to play eight years, let alone more than a decade.
And Oakley was exactly what the Raptors needed at that time, a grizzled veteran who could lead by example and keep young teammates on the right track.
Today? The deal may not look good but if Glen Grunwald hadn’t made it, there’s no telling how much the Raptors would have continued to flounder.
Still trying to figure out exactly what’s going to transpire in the final, my guess right now is that the Lakers win with relative ease and we’ll have a big package of preview stuff here and in the newspaper tomorrow and the next day, which gives me the rest of today and tonight to figure it all out.