Meet the Men in Green - Steve Kuberski
By Steven Markos
Before the Boston Celtics grabbed Steve Kuberski off waivers on December 11, 1975 from the Buffalo Braves, they were a struggling third place team with a 5-5 record after its first ten games. With inconsistent play, the Celtics were in desperate need of someone who could bring them back to their winning ways.
With the insertion of Steve Kuberski into the starting lineup the C's would win 14 of their next 16 games. The Celtics would go on to win the Atlantic Division by eight games.
This would be Kuberski's second stint with the Boston Celtics. He was drafted by the Green and White in the fourth round of the 1969 draft. The Celt's lost the rights to Kuberski in 1974 when New Orleans drafted him in the NBA expansion draft. Once drafted, he was then traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. After a year and a half away from Boston he stepped right into a starting position for the Celtics.
"I knew Nellie was in the process of retiring," said Kuberski. "I guess that they were looking for someone who could step right in and knew the system. I can't tell you exactly what Red and Heinie were thinking, but I would start most of the time and they would bring Silas in off the bench to give us a spark."
Acquired early on in the championship campaign, he went on to average just under 14 minutes and 4.9 points per game. He also shot 89.9 percent (71-for-79) from the free throw line during the 1975-1976 regular season.
Kuberski proved to be even more valuable to the Celtics in the playoffs. In the first round of the 1976 playoffs against the Buffalo Braves, John Havlicek missed three games due to a nagging foot injury. Kuberski and Don Nelson split the duties and allowed the Celtics not to loss a beat and advance to the second round against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Against the Braves, Kuberski scored 12 points, which marked his 1976 playoff high.
In Game three of the NBA Championship series, Kuberski posted 11 points and five rebounds in 14 minutes of play in the Celtics 105-98 loss. It was his best individual performance of the 1976 playoffs.
"It was a funny year because we played everyone we wanted to play," said Kuberski. "Cleveland beat the Bullets, who we did not match up against well, and then Phoenix beat Golden State, who we did not match up well against."
"I would say it was the most rewarding year. I liked it in Boston. I was planning on coming back here to settle down anyway."
For the past 20 years, Kuberski has been the owner of Pro-Quip Inc., a Woburn, MA., based company that produces lockers for schools and warehouse products. His company has done work for most of the new arenas in the Boston area, including the FleetCenter and Boston College's Conte Forum.