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Catching up

Posted by Bob Ryan, Globe Staff  June 27, 2008 09:39 AM

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The guy swore to me that Kevin McHale was totally in (athletic) love with Kevin Love but I wasn't sure how reliable the source was since it happened to be Kevin Love's father, Stan.

Guess it was true, huh?

This Minnesota-Memphis trade makes a lot of sense for both sides. Minneapolis ain't for everybody, but I'm sure Kevin Love will have no trouble fitting in. Remember, he's an Oregonian by birth and sensibility, not a Southern Californian. Those folks up there will love him. Wait 'till they see their first 80-foot outlet pass.

Love was a big winner in the draft process. He has dropped 15 pounds since you last saw him and he had people all over the league drooling. A lot of teams would have been very happy to get him.

O.J. Mayo will undoubtedly be happier in Memphis. As my friend Dick (Hoops) Weiss says, "Those people will be reminded of a lot of great Memphis players they've known in the past."

And Minny also got Mike Miller, one of my favorite players. He can shoot, and he should be a nice complement to our old friend Big Al and now Mr. Love. I think McHale is on the right track. I can't guarantee a playoff berth for them in the West, but they're a team I'm looking forward to see play.

Meanwhile... the sad odyssey of Antoine Walker continues. This is Team No. 5, and I wonder if the Grizzlies really have any interest in him, or if he's simply a piece of a salary cap puzzle.

As for our lads, the Champeens, I'm sad they passed on Chris Douglas-Roberts. John Calipari said on the air that he's not a workout kind of player, which doesn't surprise me. He's a player for the soul, with his funky release and goofy floaters. You'd think with Rondo the Celtics would be hip to that kind of thing. I think he would have been a great fit offensively. Perhaps the Celtics brass weren't as sure about his defensive potential.

Picking 30, the Celtics could have gone in any direction. There were project big men such as DeVon Hardin, DeAndre Jordan and even Sasha Kaun available. There was the aforementioned Douglas-Roberts. But they went for a very interesting player in J.R. Giddens, whose athletic ability has never been in doubt, but who was essentially run out of Kansas following a bar fight. Giddens now says he's on the straight and narrow. If he's what they think he is, Tony Allen is history. Even though Doc says it's not zero-sum. It is.

* * *

The people who invested the 150 bucks (and up) to attend the seventh annual "Traditions" evening on behalf of the New England Sports Museum this past Tuesday got a proper bang for their buck. It was a great evening.

The highlight, of course, was listening to Darryl Williams, who was given a Lifetime Achievement award. He is the one-time Jamaica Plain High football player who was shot and paralyzed by a sniper's bullet at Charlestown High 29 years ago. He is a truly remarkable and utterly inspiring individual. We all could have gone home after listening to him explain why and how he has overcome the expected bitterness that would have engulfed most of us if what happened to him happened to any of us.

Bob Knight introduced John Havlicek, his friend of 50 years, and then took part in a nice chat conducted by co-emcees Dale Arnold and Michael Holley. The Coach was on his best behavior, telling a great story about the day Havlicek was drafted by the Celtics. "John told me he'd been received a phone call to tell him he'd been drafted by the Celtics," Knight said, "and I told him to get a picture of Red Auerbach's ass and put it on his mirror and then kiss it every day because he would become a great player with the Celtics."

Havlicek, by the way, basically inducted Paul Pierce into the inner circle of all-time Celtics greats.

Cam Neely was intro'd by Milan Lucic, which was a nice touch. His highlight montage was a splendid mixture of dexterous goal-scoring and the pugnaciousness that made him hockey's first "power forward," at least since Gordie Howe retired. Arnold suggested that this was the first time Neely's six-year old daughter had "ever seen Daddy punch somebody." Not really, Neely replied. 'My brother comes over to the house all the time."

Neely also got off a great line at the expense of Bob Lobel, who struggled to the stage on crutches following major back surgery.

"If that's what happens to a sportscaster," Neely said, "What can I look forward to?"

It was that kind of night.

The food and drink were plentiful, and a good time was had by all. You might consider putting this one on your 2009 calendar.

* * *
So they're really talking about retiring Danny Ainge's number 44? Obviously, Wyc and Pags can do anything they want. Danny was a nice player and a player I very much liked watching play, but he fell short of exalted Celtic status. Does winning a championship as GM now make him a better player?

Of course, the Celtics long ago distorted the meaning of retired numbers, so I suppose that toothpaste ain't never going back into the tube. But if they retire 44 they should superimpose a copy of Theo Ratliff's expiring contract onto the banner so people will understand what really got Danny up there.

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About bob ryan's blog Opinions, observations and anecdotes from Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan.
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Bob is an award-winning columnist for the Globe and the host of "Globe 10.0" on Boston.com.

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