Touching All the Bases

The Spurs’ Selfless Style of Play is Reminiscent of the ’86 Celtics, and There’s No Higher Praise

To put it another way, this:

Reminds me of this:

I don’t say this lightly. There is no higher praise. None.

But the Spurs deserve it. They might be the Patriots of the NBA. They’re definitely the aesthetic descendents of the Bird-era Celts.

I’ve always rationalized missing out on Tim Duncan in ’97 — yeah, thanks for all the reminders this week — by noting that if the Celtics got him, they wouldn’t have gotten Paul Pierce a year later. Pierce’s career — watching him grow into a great player and an admirable man — is one of my favorite in Boston sports history. But if you’re saying you can have Duncan or Pierce for 15-plus years … well, I’ll pass on choosing right now. Let’s just say it’s a harder choice than it should be given Duncan’s greatness and how he’s achieved it.


If you doubt me about the Spurs, we’ll, I suspect you didn’t watch the clip, and you certainly didn’t listen to Magic Johnson’s narration. He’s great, and not just because of his inclination to passionately, compellingly reminisce about Celtics-Lakers heyday any chance he gets.

And the Celtics vid? It’s narrated by Jack Edwards — no mention of rag-tag farmers here — and captures what is believed to be the only willing pass of Danny Ainge’s career, at least when he had an open shot.

If you coach at any level, make your players watch both videos with you. And when the clips are over and the jaws are picked up off the floor, turn to them and say, “That — that — is what I’ve been talking about.”


Basketball gets no better than the Celtics then and the Spurs in the recent past. Like, hell, last night.

’86 Celtics take ’em in 7, though.

Jump To Comments


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on