Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why The Celtics Success of The 80's Didn't Carry Over To The 90's

'93 Reggie Lewis Fleer Ultra (checkout those old school Reebok Pumps)
It would be easy to say that the reason for the demise of the Boston Celtics during the 90's was due to the retirements of greats like Larry "Legend", Dennis Johnson, Kevin Mchale  and the departures of players like Robert Parrish and Danny Ainge, but that would be careless. Sure, any team would be better off with those players, but the greatness of the Celtics franchise is that they have been able to build for success in multiple eras. As one era was ending (the Bird Celtics), the Reggie Lewis and Len Bias Celtics were being constructed by the mastermind of professional hoops himself, Mr. Red Auerbach.

I'm a fan of many of the late 80's and early 90's teams that enjoyed success during that time like the "Bad Boy" Pistons and Jordan led Chicago Bulls, but I often wonder how many Championships those teams would have actually been able to win with an aging Celtics team infused with youthful talents like Lewis and Bias. The Chicago Bulls 90's might not have been. Instead, Lewis passed away in an off-season practice in 1993 due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and Bias (1986 2nd overall pick) passed away from a drug overdose before he even stepped on the parquet floor.

I'm certainly not arguing that the the Celtics would have absolutely won five more championships if Bias and Lewis would have fulfilled their potential, but they certainly would have had a great chance at extending the run of the Celtics of the 80's. Actually, it's amazing to think how different the NBA could have been and would be today, if only for a few different decisions.


  1. Bias was MJ's intangibles with LeBron's athleticism. One of the worst losses in all of the sports world.

  2. Man, do I miss Reggie. He was just entering his prime and becoming one of the stars of the league. Who knows how good he could have been since he was already starting to exceed most people's expectations. Since Bias never donned a Celtics jersey in a game, I don't feel his loss as much. Reggie was also such a huge force within the community. He was constantly giving back and made the city a much better place with his presence.

  3. I still remember hearing about Len Bias' death... but never knew how huge of an impact it would have on the Celtics' organization and basketball in general until years later.

  4. Lewis was my favorite Celtic growing up and I remember everything about the day when he collapsed during a game and then later on when he died. I actually stopped watching hoops for a while after that.

    One of my most cherished possessions is a scrap of paper that he signed. I was in 7th grade (or was it 6th) and was on a French field trip for school to see the Monet exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Afterwards, we were allowed to walk around Faneuil Hall and who did we see walking around? Reggie Lewis! He graciously signed whatever we shoved in front of him as he ate a hot dog. They played the Bulls that night and I remember my friend Josh saying,"Shut Jordan down," which he did. He always gave Jordan a handful.

    If I knew how to make a nice cut autograph card, I would make a Reggie Lewis one.

  5. I still vividly remember the playoff game in Charlotte where the Hornets took on Reggie Lewis and the Celtics. The Alonzo Mourning game winning shot, falling to the ground w/ his arms outstretched, mobbed by his teammates.

    I also vividly remember Lewis passing away so suddenly. Scary stuff. You are right though, the Celtics could have been a contender. Speaking of the 90's Celtics, whatever happened to Dee Brown?

  6. @Colbey, I think Dee Brown hurt his fingers pumping up his Reeboks

  7. @Casey, a cut auto of Lewis would be AWESOME!!!

    @Offy, I was not aware that lewis was such a positive force in the community. Good to know and remember.

  8. i was lucky enough to meet reggie tell u right now people michael had his hands full with regg rest in peace my hero i love forever you were just way to special for this earth