I grew up in Trinidad and Tobago and never played basketball.
Back then, we knew little of the game, and as youths we played cricket and football (soccer) as team sports.
I migrated to the US Virgin Islands in the late sixties and joined the US Army in 71.
While in the army I watched some basketball on TV and I clearly remember the dominant presence of Wilt Chamberlain as he ended his career with the Lakers.
But I never got emotionally involved with a team, or understood the finer points of the game until I came to New England in 74, and was introduced to the Celtics by the late Johnny Most on radio, and Bob Cousy, who did color commentary on WBZ-TV.
While Johnny stirred the emotions, I always appreciated Bob’s unbiased explanations of the nuances of the game.
So, the first Celtics team I ever followed was the 1974/1975 version, which was coached by Tommy Heinsohn.
That was a 60 win team that lost the Conference finals to the Washington Bullets.
That team featured players like Dave Cowens, Jo Jo White, Paul Silas and John Havlicek.
Don Nelson, Don Chaney and Paul Westphal were also on that team.
I’ve never been able to figure out why they traded Westphal for Charlie Scott later that year, even though they won the championship with Scott the following year, in 1976 .
That has been proven to be one of the worst Celtics trades.
After the championship year, the Celtics had a brief decline, and in the 1978-79 season, the Celtics had 29 wins , second worse in the league.
Their only bright spot was a promising young rookie, Cedric Maxwell.
However, this all ended with the arrival of the Legend.
Drafted in 1978, Larry Bird joined
the team for the 1979-80 season.
That year, Bird averaged 21.3 PPG and 10.4 RPG in his rookie year, helping to lead the Celtics to a 61-21 record.
The 61 wins were 32 more than the Celtics accumulated during the prior season, and an historic team turnaround.
One season later, Bird put up 21.2 PPG, 10.9 RPG and 5.5 APG and helped Boston win its first NBA championship since 1976.
Bird brought basketball excitement back to New England, and made it fun to be a Celtics fan once again.
This was the beginning of my decades long infatuation with my favorite sports team, The Boston Celtics!