The NBA has two games on today taking me back…back into time.
Spurs/Nuggets and Lakers/Celtics.
Whenever I think of the San Antonio Spurs, first thing that comes to mind is George Gervin. When someone mentions the Nuggets, guys like Doug Moe and Dan Issel take me back to when ball was a bit different.
Back in the day my friends and I used to hang outside Madison Square Garden after Knicks games waiting for the opposing players to come out. Before getting on their team bus, we’d ask the players for their sneakers. Gervin used to have these sweet high top leather Nike’s. Instead of the letters N-I-K-E on the back, he had I-C-E-. I almost begged him one night to hook me up. “Got a game in Jersey tomorrow night.” Ice replied as he boarded the bus.
As for the Nuggets, they only came to town once a year. But watching them was a lot of fun. Moe’s teams had a slogan; ‘run-gun and have fun’. Issel, Alex English and Kiki Vandweghe ran the break better than anyone.
I was in hoops heaven when Kiki joined the Knicks during the 1988-89 season. He had that sweet ‘step-back’ jumper along with the smooth left-handed, baseline drive. Which he often finished with a dunk! After watching Kiki, we’d go out to the park and try and duplicate his step-back.
And of course, you have Lakers-Celtics; one of the all-time greatest rivalries in all of sports. Magic/DJ, McHale/Rambis, Bird/Cooper, Jabber/Parrish…Big time match-ups. Sad to say, we’ll never see those types of games again.
First time I ever purchased a VHS machine I taped one of the play-off games between Celtics and Lakers and watched it the following day over and over.
“No one is bigger than the team. You’re going to be on time, you’re going play hard, you’re going to know your job and you’re going to know when to pass and shoot. If you can’t do those four things you’re not getting time here and we don’t care who you are.”