I love the 80s, whiskey, the Celtics, knee pads, short shorts, Converse Weapons, bad hair and above all else — great sports teams. It’s the camaraderie, specifically. Especially the 1986 Bird-Walton variety. So, this is pretty much my favorite NBA Finals story of all-time.
After the Celtics won the 1986 championship, Walton sat alone in Bird’s kitchen drinking Wild Turkey until after the sun came up.
I told Bird I didn’t believe the Walton story. Simply too good to be true.
“Yeah, it happened,’’ Bird said. “After we won, me and Dinah went out to K.C. Jones’s restaurant. He had a rib place. I had two beers. Remember how we stopped drinking that year?’’ - the ’86 Celtics swore off alcohol for their playoff run - “Well, I had two beers and they didn’t even taste good. I was tired, anyway, so I went home an hour later.
“Bill came over. It was late. Doorbell rang and Dinah answered and she was like, ‘Hey, Bill. Larry’s in bed.’ I heard him, so I go out and I said, ‘Hey, man I ain’t doing this tonight. I can’t.’ He goes, ‘Don’t worry about it. I don’t even need you. I’m just going to sit down here at the table.’ He had a bottle of whiskey. And he said, ‘I’ll be here when you wake up.’ And he was.”
No exclusive nightclubs. No $80,000 ark of the covenant bottles. No high-profile celebrities. Just two warriors, two champions, two TEAMMATES savoring that sublime moment of accomplishment together in the same place, even if it wasn’t the same room.