2010-11 Top 10 Celtics Banner Moments
Check out the Top 10 Banner Moments below, selected by a Celtics committee led by former player Dana Barros. Feeling inspired? Share your own Celtics Banner Moment and it could be posted on Celtics.com for your family, friends, and fellow Celtics fans to enjoy!
The Game that Changed My Life (And His!)
Shared by Maureen from Marion
It was May 19, 1987 and the Celtics were to open their playoff series against the dreaded Detroit Pistons and I was on vacation in Aruba with my mother! Boy, was that poor planning. I was a hard-core fan; I used to listen to the games on the radio and can recall watching infrequent black and white TV broadcasts on my grandmother's small television set with rabbit ears! Always, it seemed to be the Celtics versus the Knicks. Well, back to 1987...Aruba's Concord Hotel was next door to the one in which I was staying. My mother wanted to try out Concord's casino that evening. As we entered the casino, I noticed a television was set up with a small group of people gathered around it. Not really into the casino action, I wandered over to the television to find that the Celtics were playing! I sat down and much to my displeasure, the group gathered around were Pistons fans. Not to be outdone, I quietly sat down and started watching and before long, I was cheering by my lonesome for my team!
As it turned out, a young man was seated nearby and we started a conversation. He was from Philadelphia and had money on the Pistons to win this game because no self-respecting 76ers fan would ever root for the Celtics. I stuck to my guns and watched my Celtics defeat those Pistons that night. The guy was nice, but a Sixers fan? It would never work. Well, after 21 years of marriage, that Sixers fan has left the dark side and come over to the light and proudly wears the green. Our children are Celtics fans. The legacy continues! So thank you Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish and rest of the 1987 Boston Celtics. Thanks to you, I met my husband. Better still, May 19, 1987 Boston versus Detroit, was the game that saved my husband from basketball purgatory!
A Championship Won 5,310 Miles Away
Shared by Omar from Shrewsbury
It was Sunday June 15, 2008. The Boston Celtics had just completed one of the greatest comebacks in NBA Finals history in Game 4 and were on the verge of winning their unprecedented 17th NBA Championship. As a diehard Celtics fan I had been waiting for this moment for as long as I have been a fan of NBA basketball. BUT on this day of all days I was forced to travel with my family to Egypt. My repeated requests to let me take another flight on a later date were unfortunately denied. I would be on an airplane thousands of feet in the air while Game 5 was taking place. I was antsy the entire plane ride feeling disconnected not knowing what was going on in the game. I made an effort to figure out what was happening by having the flight attendants ask the pilot to contact somebody in their headquarters or wherever on the ground to find out who won. However I never got a definite answer from them. I eventually found out from a friend in Egypt once I landed that Celtics lost Game 5 to the Lakers. Although I was upset by this result, I also saw it as a blessing in disguise. Game 6 was two days later and I would not be on a plane during that game.
I had to figure out how I was going to watch this game while I was 5,310 miles away in Alexandria, Egypt. There were many obstacles I encountered in trying to achieve this goal. The first major obstacle was that there is no ABC or ESPN on the TVs over there. Basketball isn't nearly as big in Egypt as it is back here. My only option was to get internet access and find a site online that would broadcast it. The second obstacle was that internet connection in Egypt was a rare commodity amongst common households. Most people use the internet at the "internet cafes" that can be found in the most random locations. So my only option was to watch the game at one of these internet cafes. The final obstacle was the time difference. In Egypt they were 7 hours ahead of US Eastern Standard Time. That meant that the 9 p.m. game here was actually at 4 a.m. the next day in Egypt. Finding an internet cafe that would be open at that time and let me watch a basketball game for 3+ hours seemed like an impossible challenge. But as KG said after the Celtics won the whole thing: "ANYTHING IS POSSIBILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!!"
After going to about 5 or 6 different internet cafes I was finally able to find one where I was able to tip the guy enough to let me stay at the cafe for the night. Celtics 131, Lakers 92. I was able to watch every single minute of the game, the postgame celebration, the news conferences, etc. Even though I was on the other side of the planet, all my efforts to watch this one game were worth it and more at the end. If I was given the option, I would go to a random internet cafe in the streets of Alexandria, Egypt, pay a high amount of money and stay up all night long to watch the game on a computer screen all over again. This is my favorite Celtics memory. This is my Celtics Banner Moment. Now if we can just get number 18 so I can go to the parade this time.
Oh My, This Place is Going Crazy
Shared by Daemian from Bedford
When I was about 12 I lived in Las Vegas and I loved the Celtics. I would walk around town in my tight green Celtics jacket. In late May I watched Game 5 of the 1987 Conference Finals through a plate glass window from outside an electronics store because I didn't have a TV. I watched the whole thing. I paced the sidewalk, I worried, I yelled. I ignored passersby. I moved for women with strollers and for the elderly, and nobody else. I never attempted to go inside, and nobody inside attempted to change the channel. I watched with outrage as these Pistons refused to back down. I watched dumbfounded as Larry drove to the hoop and got his shot blocked as the 4th drew to a close. I understood with dawning horror that the ball had touched Sichting last. I withstood the urge to walk away, to abandon the impossible situation, to walk home with the merciless sun pounding on my head. I had heard that Larry would perform magic from time to time. So I waited.
I watched Larry Bird steal the inbounds pass after Jerry Sichting put "what we call great pressure on the ball" and pass it to DJ for a layup that threatened to bounce back out. I lived the equivalent of a lifetime watching that game in 110 degrees with my incredibly uncomfortable long-sleeved Celtics jacket on, culminating in what could only be called a religious experience: Larry actually saved an impossible situation. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, and yet I was supposed to expect it. I will remember that day until I am a very old man.
Caleb and the Celtics
Shared by John from North Adams
My list of memories as a fan of the Celtics are endless since I have been a fan since 1974, but my memories of the Celtics that I will always cherish the most are the memories we created with my son Caleb and the Celtics before he passed away from cancer at the age of 8 on May 10, 2006.
Caleb was 6 when he attended his first game, a New Year's Eve matinee and from that point on he became a part of Celtics Nation. When Caleb was 7 he had to have his adenoids removed during April vacation so soon after I bought him playoff tickets and took a day off from school to do something special with him after his minor surgery. Caleb painted his face green and had a blast all night even though the Celtics lost by a point to the Pacers. Who would know the next day while riding home from the game (3 hours) we would end up at the hospital ultimately finding out that Caleb had a form of kidney cancer and the very next day had surgery to remove his ruptured kidney.
While in recovery the first thing he wanted to watch when he woke up was the next Celtics playoff game on TV in the hospital. Once we ended up at Boston Children's Hospital Caleb met the Celtics three times, attended several games and had the opportunity to sit on the bench before a game with his best friend, Nick. Caleb kept an autographed jersey from Paul Pierce above his bed in the hospital and cherished the autographed ball he received as well until the day of his passing in 2006. Although Caleb was not with us when we all celebrated the Celtics winning their 17th title, our family decorated his grave with Celtics decorations to celebrate with our son the best we could. We will be forever grateful for all the memories the Celtics players allowed us to create and we will always hold onto these memories created with the number one Boston sports fan ever, our son, Caleb Jacobbe. Today, when watching the Celtics and seeing Bryan Doo and the players he met on TV it reminds me of how brave Caleb lived his life and it allows me to remember the good times we had as a family in our short time together and even on my darkest days these memories somehow bring a smile to my face.
My Father's Dream Realized
Shared by season ticket holder Rob from Salem
When I was growing up, my dad lived and breathed for two aspects in his life. The first was his family. The other was the Boston sports scene. He grew up basking in the glory of the Russell led Celtics. My dad was fortunate enough to know a season ticket holder for the Celtics and this was our in. We would go and cheer for Bird, Parrish, McHale, and Reggie Lewis. We loved the new guys that would come like Kevin Gamble, Rick Fox, and Dee Brown. We suffered through the tough seasons and continued to support the franchise. However, in all my years of growing up, my dad never saw an NBA title change hands in person. From the couch watching TV, I could see even that young that he would have traded almost anything to be there live to join in the celebration. That is why game six in 2008 is by far one of the greatest experiences that I have ever had.
The 2008 season unfolded like a dream for my dad and me. I took both my wife and my father to every game. The Celtics would find themselves in the Finals playing the Lakers. My wife went to game one and that left my father to come to game six. However, there were problems. My father was very sick. He had been in and out of hospitals for weeks as the doctors tried to fix his laundry list of problems. He was lying in bed in agony most of that day of the game. Twice he got up to call me to tell me to take my wife. However, the old man knew that this was his dream. He knew that this was his shot at history. I brought him in and he managed to make his way to my seats in Section 308. We would watch the game unfold as the Celtics blew out the competition.
When the Final horn sounded, I looked over and saw his eyes water up as the confetti fell. My dad had finally seen his beloved Celtics capture the crown in person. My father had given me so much growing up. He instilled in me my passion for Boston sports. We were not made of money, but he found a way for us to go to as many games as was humanly possible. I had a great childhood because of this man. Knowing that I had given something back to him was huge. The Celtics will inevitably win more titles (hopefully this year), but game six of the NBA Finals in '08 is forever my Banner Moment.
Never Sick of the Celtics
Shared by Rick from Gloucester
My Dad first turned me onto the Celtics when I was a very young boy. We would (and still do) watch the games religiously and I was fortunate enough to realize the joy of being a Celtics fan in the era of Bird. I played b-ball throughout my youth and through high school, while simultaneously collecting Celtics memorabilia. Satin jacket, Larry Bird 33 dollar bills, towels, t-shirts, cards, piece of the parquet floor, pictures, you name it. I am very well known about my community and family for being a Celtics fan. Ask anyone who knows me, I haven't taken my "Celtics Pride" bracelet off for the 4 years I have had it, and my Dad has a match to it that he also wears all the time.
My Banner Moment came on Christmas Day of 2010. My Dad, my best friend, has been diagnosed with a disease (amaloydosis) that only 1200 people in the US have. The amaloids that had already attacked his kidneys to a working capacity of 10%, had now attacked his intestines. The day after Thanksgiving Dad was rushed to Beverly Hospital for emergency surgery. The infected piece was removed and Dad was put into sedation and on a respirator for 19 days. I would go to his room and watch the games with him, even though he was unaware. A second surgery was performed on December 6 and the prognosis was touch and go. It was so difficult not to be able to even speak with my Dad and to wonder if I ever would again. My family and friends prayed for his recovery along with me. On December 10, he was released to a "regular" hospital room, and 6 days later to Spaulding Rehab. Dad was 108 pounds, weak as a kitten and constantly dizzy and nauseous. With the great work of the doctors and rehab staff, he was released on Christmas Eve to come home with services and regular dialysis. Christmas Day, Dad and I watched the Celtics game together. I never appreciated anything as much as I did that game. Me and my Dad, me and my best friend, watching the game together. A Banner Moment for both of us.
The Generation of Champions
Shared by season ticket holder Stephen from Danvers
I've been a diehard Celtics fan my whole life (starting around the Russell era) and I've been a season ticket holder since before the Bird era. I've experienced the ups and the downs with the Celtics though the years, but I've tasted the sweetness of winning Championships as well. But October 28, 2008 was one my favorite Celtics memories. This was the first Celtics Championship that my 11 year old twins were able to witness (now they're 14). Stevie and Mary have gone to Celtics games with my wife Daniela and me since they were babies. Mary and Stevie bleed green too, and absolutely LOVE going to the games. When the Celtics won in June it was honestly one of the happiest days of their lives. But I became a superhero to them when they found out they were going to be at the Garden to see the banner being raised and the ring ceremony. The Celtics facing the Cavaliers was icing on the cake.
Once we arrived at the Garden, my twins were so excited. They heard all the familiar sounds and smells. The aroma of hot dogs fresh on the grill, and the sense of a new season that is about to begin. As we were walking from the elevator people were passing out programs and opening night t-shirts. It really started sinking in we were about to witness an unforgettable moment in Celtics history. As we walked in I saw my children's faces. They looked up and even though they have been to many Celtics games, they were mesmerized by the 16 banners that proudly hung in the rafters (soon to be 17). The lights dimmed, the music blared, and the jumbotron lit up. It was time for the ceremony to begin. I felt like that was exactly where we should be.
When they played "We Are the Champions" and the Celtics legends brought out the Championship trophy, you could feel the emotion in the air. Paul Pierce held it up proudly and began to cry. My wife and I looked over at our twins, and they started crying too. But when they started hoisting up the number 17 banner into the rafters, even I was overcome with emotion. Even though I am sharing this moment, it is truly impossible to covey into words what it was like to share that moment with my family that night. It is the best thing in the world to pass down a love and desire not only for this game, but for the Celtics. My children understand in the great words of Red, "that the Celtics aren't a team, but a way of life." The Celtics were the new Champions, and they even won the game against the Cavs that night. Tradition, excellence, hard work, and dedication got the Celtics to win that year. This year is a new year, and my family and I know "It's all about 18!"
Shared by Jen from Stoneham
My most memorable Celtics moment took place when I was seven years old, and stuck in my bedroom on punishment, forbidden from watching the most important game of my young life--Game 2 of the Celtics/Bulls series in 1986--Bird vs. Jordan. I was grounded and Grandma gave me explicit instructions to go to bed after supper--without TV. Each time Grandma checked on me, I pretended to be sleeping, knowing full well that when game time came, I'd switch on my tiny black and white TV, without volume--this game was too important to be missed. And so there I was--sitting on top of my autographed Larry Bird ball, watching as Bird and Jordan battled it out--point by point, through one overtime and then the next overtime. And when the game finally came to an end, I shrieked a squeal of pure exhilaration, forgetting, of course, that I was "sleeping." I heard Grandma's footsteps coming toward my room. I quickly switched off my TV and lay on my floor, "Are you OK?" Grandma asked. And then came an acting performance worthy of an Oscar, "I tripped over my ball on the way to the bathroom." Seeing I was OK, Grandma retreated to her room, and I fell asleep clutching my Bird ball and feeling like everything was right in the world.
Shared by Ginny from North Andover
It's very difficult to say which Banner Moment is the very best one, because they are all Moments that will absolutely, positively last a lifetime! The very first one was the day in mid-June, 2009, when I arrived home from doing errands. I always check my Caller ID to see if I had any 'missed' calls. To my shocking disbelief, I saw BOSTON CELTICS listed as a missed call and there was a message waiting! Immediately, my knees felt weak, my heart raced, my eyes filled up and I got this lump in my throat, as though I was going to cry (...and I did!). Thoughts raced through my head as to what it could be about. Had I boasted about the Celtics too much on Facebook? No, couldn't be that, because it was all good, and everyone knows we love 'our' Celtics! Could it possibly be anything to do with the essay I wrote for the Celtics/ and RE/MAX Driveway Makeover contest? Naw, not me! I just wanted to tell the world what a great son I have. Although it would be wonderful, I didn't really expect to win! My son said that maybe I should just check the message and end the suspense!
Well, it was a message from the Celtics, saying we were finalists in the Driveway Makeover contest I had entered and a representative wanted to come see the driveway! When she came here she told us that we had been chosen as one of the winners, but wanted to tell us in person! The other Banner Moments were soon to follow. We were told that a current Celtics player, along with a Legend, would be coming here to dedicate a brand new basketball court to us! In addition, the Celtics would also be doing a bedroom makeover in my son, Marquiese's room! What a once in a lifetime opportunity we were about to experience! The memories will stay in our hearts forever. Yes, the NBA does Care! Another part of winning this contest was that there would be a clinic, conducted by a Celtics player and a Celtics Legend, held for 100 children, in our hometown! Marquiese was given the privilege of choosing twenty-five of his friends and family to attend! To see his pride as he carefully wrote out his list of fellow basketball players and friends to share this experience with him, was priceless! But then to see the looks on these boys' faces when Marquiese asked them if they would like to attend the clinic with him, was overwhelming, to say the least! The summer of 2009 will be the best year in our lives and we will remember it forever! Thank You, Boston Celtics for giving us our Banner Moments!
Bird's Eye View for Banner 16
Shared by Michael from New Bedford
The year was 1986, my buddy and I waited in line on a frigid March night from 5 in the evening to 11 the next morning, hoping to purchase playoff tickets. With tickets in hand, we attended every home game of the playoffs and all of The Finals--those in Boston and Houston. We saw the Big 3--Bird, McHale, and Parish battle the Twin Towers--Olajuwon and Sampson in a very physical series. My friend, Nick the Greek and I were at the Houston Summit as Bill Walton leaped over the scorer's table and ran down the tunnel after a 106-103 win in Game 4, to give Boston a commanding 3-1 lead. We were there to see the bench clearing brawl in Game 5 featuring combatants Ralph Sampson and Jerry Sichting as the Rockets rolled, forcing Game 6 in Boston. Back in Boston, Larry Bird warned the fans that Game 6 would be a war, "so wear your hardhats," and many fans did. In Game 6, Bird, series MVP, grabbed a loose ball under the basket, weaved through three players to the corner beyond the arc and buried a "dagger" 3. The crowd erupted. Victory was no longer in question as Houston's hopes of a title vanished in a sea of green and hardhats. My memories before and after the games were just as special... On the road, we stayed in the same hotel as the Celtics--Houston's Westin Galleria. We met Johnny Most at a Galleria deli and talked with him for over an hour about Celtics basketball. At the hotel, Most introduced us to Scott Wedman as "his friends from New Bedford."
My fondest memory, however, did not involve legends or well-known athletes. It involved my dad. He was a die-hard Celtics fan and had seen every Championship series 1-15 throughout the years. He took me, as a young kid, to my first Celtics game in the late 60s---Bill Russell's Celtics taking on Wilt Chamberlain's 76ers. He came with me and my friends to Game 6 at the Garden. After Banner 16 was secured, we, along with hundreds of other fans, spilled out onto the streets of Boston and the victory party was underway! We found our way to Faneuil Hall, where music was playing and everyone was celebrating. No one was more proud than my dad. As the cheering escalated, a young woman, half my dad's age started dancing around Red Auerbach's famed statue. My dad joined in and soon a crowd of 50-60 people formed a circle around the two--clapping, cheering and singing along. It was a moment we never forgot...a Banner Moment! It was the last Celtics Championship for my father, he passed on in 2005. However, I am certain that he was watching from "high above courtside" with his new-found friends--Red, Johnny and DJ as the Celtics "new" Big 3 won Banner 17 in 2008.