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Your Morning Dump… Where it’s (almost) all Bird and McHale

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

So, Larry & Kevin got together for a bit of a chat. Some of it was shown when we were doing our retired numbers series, and there was an entire hour of it last night on NBA TV.

However, the good folks at Turner tweeted out several nuggets from the broadcast & Chad Finn wrote up a piece on it for the Globe with some additional quotes from McHale, so, in case you missed it last night–or want to re-watch the highlights:

And the preview (mostly stuff you’ve already seen above, but with a new tidbit at the end):

The most fun comes when one or the other starts a sentence with “Remember when?’’ “Remember that time’’ or some other variation. Sometimes it’s a flashback to a specific opponent. “You remember Andrew Toney?,’’ asks Bird, regarding the early ‘80s Sixers guard who tormented the Celtics so often he was knowns as the Boston Strangler. “That was one of the best guys I ever played against, and you never hear about him. That kid was unbelievable against us.’’

More often, the “remember when’’ comes before Bird or McHale launches into a story that often leaves both laughing at a shared memory neither Celtic legend ever forgot. The best of these is when they’re discussing an early ‘80s surprise practice called by coach Bill Fitch immediately after the team’s flight had landed in a road city. Many players had been drinking on the flight and were in no condition for practice. Backup center Eric Fernsten did not imbibe on the flight, and his dominating performance was such in practice that Bird looked at him at one point and said, “Damn, Fernie, you’re me.’’

“I remember after a game in Atlanta once, Larry looks at me, we’re having a beer, and he looks at me and says, ‘Can you believe they pay us to do this?’,’’ said McHale. “I started laughing and said, ‘They pay us. Plus we get free beer, which is a good deal.’ That’s how I felt about my entire career. I rode my bike to the gym every single day as a kid to play, and now they’re paying me to do something I went out of the way to do every single day of my life. I was always like, ‘That’s unbelievable.’’’

To Larry and I, Doo is one of those guys you played with along the way who is always in your mind, a great teammate and guy who we learned something from. He’d play one on one with you all the time. He’d be hilarious. If he ever beat you, the next few days were miserable. He couldn’t remind you enough. It was just one of those things, one of those shared experiences that may not mean anything to other people, but to us, those are the people and experiences that made us the players and people we were.

There were days where you played like crap, you’re mad, little things. But overriding any of that was 99.9 percent of the time, it’s incredible.

“Everybody I played with, I was really lucky and blessed – M.L. and Chris Ford and Robert [Parish] and Cedric [Maxwell] and DJ [Dennis Johnson] and Danny [Ainge], on down the line. We had good guys. And it was fun. Of all the things that you remember, that’s what you remember best.


And from the retired numbers project, my reminiscences of McHale, and Mike Dynon’s appreciation of Larry Bird

Finally: Well, you can’t blame a guy for trying, right?

“If he came to our school and put us back on track, he would be a hero to the school and the sport. I’m sure it wouldn’t go unnoticed by the media and by basketball history either.”

If he keeps winning in Boston, I think basketball history will keep track of him okay.

The rest of the links:

MassLiveBrad Stevens, Boston Celtics coach, shares stories of his baseball days while addressing Red Sox at spring training

NBC Sports: Blakely’s All-Star game takeaways


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