It’s true, Larry Bird did hitchhike home from the 1984 NBA Finals after winning his first championship. But it wasn’t because he thought driving himself to the celebration was “un-championship-like”.
Some time ago Larry Bird decided to tie a knot with a fellow NBA champion, Magic Johnson. In 1984, Bird was the MVP of the league and Johnson was his teammate. In a tribute to Bird, Johnson decided to hitch hike throughout the United States, visiting all the bars where the Celtics star had won his glory. What ensued was a memorable journey of one of the greatest generations of NBA players.
The day after the last game of the 1984 NBA Finals, legendary Boston Celtics star Larry Bird took a ride with his coach Doc Rivers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to the now-defunct Burns Harbor bar. The driver of the car, Jerry Colangelo, claims that Kilpatrick refused to let him climb in the passenger seat, and also refused to let him join in the celebration. Colangelo refused to be left out of the revelry, so he got out and walked the rest of the way to the bar.
It’s fair to assume that if a team wins a championship, there will be a huge celebration. While this was true when Larry Bird and his Boston Celtics won the NBA championship in 1984, the evening was marred by an unforeseen snafu. A handful of gamers had trouble getting to their own party due to a huge traffic congestion.
Larry Legend, on the other hand, was not going to allow the packed streets of Boston prevent him from joining the team in celebrating. With that in mind, he hitchhiked to the pub and joined in the fun. He informed the driver at the door, however, that he couldn’t participate in the fun.
Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics won the NBA championship in 1984, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers.
Every title is important, as players who have never won a ring can attest. The 1984 NBA championship, on the other hand, meant a lot more to Bird and his Boston Celtics.
The Celtics ascended the NBA summit in 1981, beating the Houston Rockets without breaking a sweat. However, that triumph did not herald the start of a dynasty. After losing in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1982, the Celtics were swept by the Bucks in the second round of the 1983 playoffs. The year 1984 appeared to be the club’s opportunity to reclaim its dominance.
The 1984 NBA Finals had a little more oomph thanks to two additional circumstances. The Celtics faced their renowned rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, in that championship series. Magic Johnson, who had previously beaten Bird in college, was also a member of the Western Conference team. There were many opportunities for vengeance.
Despite the fact that the series lasted seven games, Bird and the Celtics ultimately won. Larry Legend, according to an extract from When the Game Was Ours (H/T Boston.com), relished the opportunity.
While celebrating, the forward is alleged to have exclaimed, “I finally got him.” “It took a long time, but I eventually acquired Magic.”
Larry Bird took a cab to the pub and refused to allow the driver participate in the festivities.
After guiding the Boston Celtics to the championship, Larry Bird sleeps next to the Larry O’Brien Trophy. | Frank O’Brien/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
It’s natural that Bird and his Celtics colleagues would want to rejoice after beating a rival and winning a championship. However, when the group proceeded from the locker room to a nearby bar, a problem arose.
Larry Bird and teammate Quinn Buckner were stuck in joyful traffic in a team van driven by the Celtics’ assistant equipment manager, Joe ‘Corky’ Qatato, according to Jackie MacMullan. “Their goal was to take the van to Hellenic College in Brookline, where their vehicles were stored, then drive back to Faneuil Hall to join the team celebration at Chelsea’s. However, the traffic was not moving, and Bird was becoming irritated. He pushed the vehicle into park from across the driver’s seat.”
Bird got out of the vehicle and started walking along the side of the road. He soon came upon a vehicle with three Celtics supporters in it. “Listen, do you have any space for Quinn and me in there?” he said. The passengers, predictably, readily accommodated their conquering heroes.
The vehicle eventually arrived at Chelsea’s. At that moment, the driver made a request: Could he go inside with the Celtics as a thank you?
Bird responded, “Sorry, champions only,” before walking past the security officers stationed outside.
Magic Johnson, on the other hand, had a bad night in Boston.
While the Boston Celtics had a night out, Magic Johnson was not in the mood to celebrate. The guard returned to his hotel after seeing a title slip through his fingers, biding his time until he could depart Beantown the following morning.
“He could have closed the blinds and turned up the television volume. Instead, Magic Johnson acted on his bizarre desire to watch the celebration going on around him, gazing blankly out of his hotel window, transfixed on the sea of green below,” MacMullan stated again in her extract. “Thousands of supporters crowded the streets, many dressed in shamrock-colored T-shirts, causing a joyful traffic jam in the already congested metropolis. Car horns blared, fireworks exploded, and grown men danced Irish jigs in celebration of the Celtics’ 1984 NBA Championship win against the Lakers in Game 7.”
While Mark Aguirre and Isiah Thomas joined Magic in his chamber and attempted to divert him, the bemused guard couldn’t take his gaze away from the spectacle outside.
Johnson described the situation as “bedlam.” “I had to force myself to watch it. It made me feel even worse, but I earned my misery.” After his friends departed, he confessed to weeping.
“You can’t win them all,” as the cliché goes. That fact, on the other hand, has no bearing on the pleasure of triumph or the anguish of loss.
Larry Bird Explains Why He’s Never Wanted to Work With Magic Johnson: ‘This has a long history.’
Larry Bird won the 1984 NBA championship with the Boston Celtics, but refused to let the driver join him in his celebration.. Read more about lakers vs celtics 2020 and let us know what you think.
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