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Long before another guard would wear #27 for the C's, another guard from New York City did, back in the 1970s.  This week in What The Hell Happened To, we remember Kevin Stacom.

Kevin attended Holy Cross High School in Queens (one of the few NYC powerhouses yours truly did not compete against back in the day; Christ the King was another).  Kevin began playing college ball at the other Holy Cross, in Worcester, MA, before transferring to Providence after his sophomore season.  He teamed up in the backcourt with Ernie DiGregorio while there (don't be surprised to see Ernie D with a WTHHT in the future).

Even before college, Kevin was exposed to the Celtic greatness:

"I was 11 years old when my father bought me and my brother tickets to see the Celtics play the Knicks at the old Madison Square Garden," said Stacom. "The Knicks were not very good back then and I always had a fascination with the Celtics and their style of play."

"John Havlicek and Don Chaney were both playing for the Celtics back then. I ended up playing with both of them."

His fascination would become a reality when the C's picked Kevin with the #35 overall pick in the 1974 draft (which thanks to David Stern, would almost be in the first round of today's draft).  He'd play with the Celtics from that '75 season to 1978, winning a championship in 1976 and appearing in 17 playoff games during their run.

But it definitely wasn't always easy for him.  Kevin was never the quickest or most skilled player, so extreme hours of hard work had to go into his craft.  Most players after practice would shower quickly and go but Kevin would stick around for 3 on 3 drills with Don Nelson, Hank Finkel and Tom Boswell.

Earlier in his career he used to have trouble getting off his jump shot but he worked with Tom Heinsohn on some technical improvements.  Before long, Kevin became as proficient as anyone from 12-18 feet out.

And then there was the defense.  It's what he was really known for.  With Tom Sanders as his coach, he pushed Kevin to be the guy that would come in and change the pace by pressuring the offense.

In true WTHHT fashion, Kevin was always a survivor. Paul Westphal, Charlie Scott, Benny Clyde, Steve Downing, Phil Hankinson, Jerome Anderson and Norm Cook were all there, all considered at one time or another more valuable than Stacom.  But they all came and went and Kevin remained.  Reminds me in a bit of a way like Eddie House from '08-10.  Cassell and Marbury were bigger names brought in to replace him but Eddie stuck through that and found his moment to shine.  John Havlicek certainly thought so:

Every year Kevin had to go out and win a position and he went out with dedication and determination. He showed each day that he was ready to play and that he wanted to play.


After the 1978 season, Kevin would sign with the Pacers; as compensation the Celtics would receive a 3rd round pick, which would turn into the immortal Wayne Kreklow.  However after just a half-season with the Pacers, Stacom would be sold back to the Celtics (I miss the days when players could be sold; oh wait hasn't the Buffoon done something like that?)




The real question should be: What the Hell Happened to Kevin Stacom from the end of the 1979 season to the start of the 1981 season?  Where was he during 1979-80?  Anyone with information on this will be compensated, similar to anyone finding video footage of Tim Hardaway's Cindy Brady-esque performance while on ESPN's NBA Shootaround back in like 2002.  [TB Tangent: Speaking of Hardaway, I can't let it go.  I used to love when he called Dirk Nowitzki, "Dirk Nowinsky" and how he'd always repeat what his co-host said.  For example, "so Tim, Ray Allen is amazing today hitting all those 3 pointers?  Yep, Ray Allen is amazing today hitting all those 3 pointers."  Then an awkward pause for where the analysis was supposed to be.  Or when he'd stutter or stammer for like 30 seconds trying to remember someone's name before his co-host would help him out.  I love the one comment in there saying "Dude must have some compromising pictures of Disney higher ups!"]

Kevin would sign with the Bucks and play for them for 7 games during the 1981-82 season, one year before Dave Cowens' bizarre fiasco in Milwaukee. That would be the end of his playing career.

Apology to Kevin for going off on Tim Hardaway, as I certainly didn't intend doing that when I started writing this article. Today, Kevin is the owner of the Mudville Pub in Newport, Rhode Island.


For a complete list of the "What the Hell Happened To" Series please click here.

tb727 4/17/2011 12:01:00 AM Edit
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5 Responses so far.

  1. Dick Versace says:

    Informative.

  2. Bohemian says:

    Very nice article, TB! I'm learning a lot from your articles :)

  3. rob says:

    Cool piece...though I have to fact-check Stacom's (not your) chronology/memory of the Knicks/Celtics game his dad took him to. While Knicks STUNK from the mid-to-late 50's until 1967 (When they picked Walt Frazier and Phil Jackson, to add to earlier great drafts in the previous 3-4 years that got them Willis Reed, Cazzy Russell and Bill Bradley), they did not stink by the time Don Chaney was playing with John Havilicek.

    In fact 1968-69 (Chaney's rookie year, in which he only played 20 games and a couple hundred minutes, so there probably wasn't a lot of time that year he was on the court with John H.), was the first (and only, as Russell retired after this season) time the Knicks EVER finished ahead of a Russell-era Celtic team in the East. The Knicks, after the franchise-changing decision of Red Holtzman to start Walt Frazier (in his 2nd year), (which allowed for the trade that sent PG Howie Komives and Walt Bellamy to Detroit for Dave DeBusschere...putting the following year's championship's last puzzle piece in the mix), finished with 54 wins, while the C's had 48.

    The Celtics beat the inexperienced Knicks in the playoffs (without home court, which they also didn't need against LA to take the last title of Russell's career) 4 games to 2.

    Also, I don't think there's ANY way Stacom could have been 11 years old in 1968, going by when he played college ball and when he went pro. He was drafted in 1974. Which would mean he was born in the EARLY 50's, which would make the game he saw with his dad in the pre-Don Chaney mid 60's.

    So, he's probably making an honest mistake, miss-remembering who was playing with Havlicek. It was probably the mid 60's, when the Knicks DID suck, and had for a long time (and they were still playing at what NY's called the "old Garden"...which was bulldozed before Don Chaney entered the league) and Stacom just is inadvertently placing Duck in the memory.

    Sorry. I'm a stickler. Even with Kevin Stacom's life-changing memories, apparently.

  4. tb727 says:

    Hilarious! I got that quote from somewhere!

  5. Had the pleasure of bumping into Mr. Stacom a year or two ago while shopping in the Brick Marketplace one early evening. We were both alone, walking to our cars when I looked over and asked, "Are you Kevin Stacom"? He acknowledged he was and engaged in small talk.. both about playing for the Celtics and his time at PC. He was a true gentleman.. It admirable when someone takes the time just to say hi, but Kevin stopped what he was doing just to talk with a fan for a few seconds.. Something you don't see often.

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