Unfinished Business: An Inside Look at the 25th Anniversary of the 1990-91 Celtics

Anyone who followed the Celtics back before the dawn of the internet knows what a different world we once lived in.  What was even more challenging was following the Celtics and not being from Boston.  Imagine only having a handful of TNT, TBS or CBS/NBC games to watch a year?  Imagine hoping (praying) the local newspaper would have the box score the next day?  Imagine life before NBA.com or NBA TV or any kind of ESPN ticker where your best bet of retrieving the night’s score was a 20 second update at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour on 1010 WINS news on the AM radio?  Sometimes they'd give the final score.  Sometimes, they'd only announce the winners from the night before.  And sometimes they wouldn't give the score at all.

If you think this didn’t once happen it did.  Growing up outside of New York City, if your team wasn’t the Knicks or Nets you really got the short end of the stick.  I remember driving to certain high elevation points in my car and turning the radio to 1090 AM (Bullets), 1100 AM (Cavs) or 1110 AM (Hornets) and you’d be able to hear the majority of the Celtics' game.  Sometimes the sound would come in and out, and the Celtics might be up a few followed by static and when the static cleared, the Cavs had made a run and pulled out ahead.  I can’t make this stuff up.

The shittiest sports updates for teams outside of NY
So what does a 12 year old diehard Celtics fan do during the 1990-91 season?  Keeps a scrapbook.  All of the wins (refused to be reminded of losses) I made sure to cut out whatever information I could find.  There would be articles from the NY Times, NY Post, NY Daily News an occasional NY Newsday and the local Gannet Westchester paper. Even less occasional would be something from the Boston Globe or Boston Herald, if I happened to be in the Boston area at the time.  There was also a smattering of Sports Illustrated, the Sporting News, USA Today and the long-forgotten about The National, which absolutely ruled when it was around.

I was only 7 in 1986 and even though I remember watching some games it wasn’t until the 1988 campaign that I was completely obsessed.  So as that 1990-91 season came along, there was a bit of optimism.  And I decided to document it.   A new coach, the Celtics' first "Doc." The No-Look Dunk.  Larry’s back.  Pinckney’s unreal offensive rebounding.  Shaw’s emergence in the regular season and subsequent disappearance in the playoffs. The very gutsy Derek Smith contribution.

No the 1991 Celtics didn’t win the title.  They didn’t even make the Conference Finals (thanks Jack Madden).  But they meant everything to me.

As for the reasoning behind the name of the segment, which will be titled “Unfinished Business?”  An ode to the amazing, must-read Jack McCallum classic about the 1991 Celtics.  Any Celtics’ fan from any era must read it.  In fact personally it’s one of the 3 best NBA books I’ve ever read, alongside David Halberstam’s The Breaks of the Game & Playing for Keeps.

So for the 25th anniversary of that magical season (the Celtics had the second-best record in the league to start the year at 29-5 and a lot of folks were anticipating a Boston-Portland Finals) I’ve decided to share it.  The pictures, the articles, the memories.  Be sure to click on the actual uploads, as they should expand to be seen and read clearly.  Because your life wouldn’t be complete without seeing the remnants of something you couldn’t even comprehend today.  Unfinished Business, 25 years later, Celticslife-style.

Complete index of 1990-91 Boston Celtics Articles