Before the NBA Finals Start, Be Sure to Thank the Golden State Warriors For Giving the Celtics 2/3 of Their 80s Big Three
As a self-proclaimed historian, I figured I'd fill in the loyal DOL readers with a little Celtics-Warriors history before their championship clash.
The NBA Finals begin tomorrow, and it's not the first Finals meeting between these franchises. In 1964, the Warriors were still known as the San Francisco Warriors and met the Boston Celtics for the NBA Championship. The Celtics would win the series in five games to capture their 6th straight championship in a run that saw them win eight consecutive finals and 11 in 13 years.
As a 30-year-old, I've only been alive for one of the Celtics' NBA record 17 championships, but in the 80s, the Celtics (and Lakers) were responsible for saving the NBA from total collapse. Teams played in front of half-empty arenas, and Finals games were on tape delay. Of course, the Bird-Magic rivalry is given the lion's share of the credit for saving the association and helping it grow to where it is today. Larry Bird's Celtics would not have won three championships in the 1980s without a trade with their 2022 Finals counterpart.
Similarly to the 2017 Celtics, in 1980, the Boston Celtics lost in the Conference Finals (to the 76ers) but held the 1st overall selection in the draft from a trade with the Pistons and some good luck on a coin toss. The 2017 C's ended up trading that 1st pick to the 76ers for the 3rd pick. Philly drafted Markelle Fultz, and the Celtics took Jayson Tatum. Depending how this series, and the next 5 to 15 years play out, we could be singing a very similar tune with that trade and the one this blog is about.
In 1980 the Celtics traded the 1st overall pick to the Golden State Warriors for a center named Robert Parish and the 3rd pick in the draft. The Boston Celtics selected future Hall of Famer Kevin McHale out of the University of Minnesota with that selection.
The Warriors used the #1 pick on center Joe Barry Carroll. He was a decent pro, averaging 17.7 ppg over a 10-year career. But with only one career all-star appearance, his career paled in comparison to the two eventual Hall of Famers the Celtics got in the trade.
When healthy, the Golden State Warriors have been the premier franchise in the NBA since 2014-15, but for about 40 years, with the exception of some Run-TMC teams and the We Believe run in 2006, the Warriors were an irrelevant franchise. Thanks to this trade, the Celtics made five trips to the Finals between 1981-1987, winning three championships in the process. From the 1980-81 to 2013-14 seasons the Golden State Warriors won five playoff series, never getting past the 2nd round.
Golden State could easily make Celtics fans cry green over the next couple of weeks, but nothing that happens in this series will change the fact that the C's bested them in one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history. A September 2006 episode of ESPN Classic's Who's #1? called this the #5 biggest trade robbery of all time.
If ESPN ever revived that show with an updated list to cover the last 15+ years, I can think of a lopsided trade with a California franchise that Boston was on the wrong side of that I've written about a couple times.
-The CEO of a Dodgers Fan Group (I Guess That's a Thing) Put Up a Billboard Outside of Fenway for Thanking the Red Sox For Trading Mookie Betts
-As if the Red Sox Weren't a Big Enough Joke Already, Lebron James Now Owns (Governs) Part of Them!
-I Want to Believe But I Don't Know If I Can
-Well, This (Potentially) Changes Everything
-Not Only Do the Red Sox Suck at Paying Generational Talent, but They Suck at Twitter Too!
-It Looks Like The Dodgers Are About To Sign Mookie to a Giant Deal
-Some Telling Stats About The Future of The United States of America
-How to Induce Vomiting (in New England)
-Mookie Betts Buys Groceries and Pizza For People Shopping and Working in Tennessee
-John Henry FINALLY Addresses The Mookie Betts Trade (and I Address My Future as a Red Sox Fan)
-After Nearly A Week of Hold Ups The Curse of Mookie Is Official (R.I.P. My Red Sox Fandom)
-So You're Telling Me There's a Chance?
-I Officially No Longer Love The Boston Red Sox
John Henry can rot in Hell, you greedy mother fucker. Don't own a baseball team if you don't want to pay elite homegrown talent.