Bob Ryan feted by friends

Family and friends, including a few well-known folks from the world of sports, gathered at the Four’s the other night to toast Boston Globe sportswriter Bob Ryan, who’s retiring after 44 years. (OK, he’s not going away altogether; Ryan, who was joined at the party by his wife, Elaine, will write an occasional Sunday column.) Guests included several current and former Globies, including Don Skwar and Jackie MacMullan, both at ESPN now, author Leigh Montville, and Tom Mulvoy. Also there was former NBA player-GM Wayne Embry and Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, who picked up much of the tab for the evening, former University of Vermont basketball coach Tom Brennan, and ex-Harvard hoops coach Frank Sullivan. Celts coach Doc Rivers couldn’t make it, but he sent champagne, and former C’s Larry Bird and Bill Walton checked in with messages (read by MacMullan). Bird’s was simple and to the point, while Walton’s was rambling and predictably over-the-top. “We were lucky to have you on our team, Bob. You gave us an incalculable edge,” Walton wrote in his e-mail. “You were smarter, wiser, quicker, tougher, more determined, and nicer than all the rest. You are the reason that we won. And the impeccably high standards that you set made it impossible for us to ever lose. You are what it means to be a Boston Celtic.”

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