--I make a nice tomato sauce, using bell peppers and vinegar. --Our family used to have two waverunners that I drove too wildly and served as a poor example for my sons, who also drove too wildly. We don't have them anymore. --My wife is smarter than I. One of my sons is a farmer and the other is a professor of sociology and both are also smarter than I. --I'm not sure what else I would've done if I weren't a journalist. I always dreamed about having a TastyKake route at the Jersey shore. I am at the shore much of the summer but have no route, though I do enjoy Tastykakes. --I played a lot of pickup basketball until I tore my Achilles. My knees aren't great either. --Though it is more in the romantic tradition of journalism to have an eccentric two-fingered typing style, I type well, owing to a background in piano and a typing class in high school. I now suck at the piano. --I will talk about my grandson, Oliver, all day. He is also smarter than I even though he's not yet 3. --My golf game is just good enough to be ultimately disappointing. --I count myself lucky to have been covering the NBA in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Right up there with Halberstam's "The Breaks of the Game". A terrific read by a writer whom I wish would have produced more work in the following years. McCallum does a terrific job for SI today, but it's books like this that leave me wanting more from him.
For any Celtics fan of the Bird Era, this book opens doors that would have otherwise have stayed closed: we get to see the biting yet inclusive humor of the aging C's, especially McHale, as well as the overall intelligence of the team that produced a slew of future NBA coaches and GM's. This was a team to be admired and maybe even loved, despite their lack of a championship.
After the Boston Celtics suffered a surprising first-round playoff exit at the hands of the New York Knicks in 1990, the team came to the realization that it was time to make significant changes if the team hoped credibly to compete for one more title before the retirements of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish. In "Unfinished Business," Jack McCallum tracked the Celtics' attempt to rebound in 1990-91, from the draft and the hiring of Dave Gavitt in the summer through the playoffs the next spring.
McCallum recalls how new coach Chris Ford retooled the team, injecting an element of speed and a running game with younger players like Dee Brown, Brian Shaw, Reggie Lewis, and Kevin Gamble. The author shows how the team jelled on the court and relates some of the off-the-court stories of that season, and notes that the team had a fresher, hipper image as a result of adding the younger players, culminating in Brown's memorable win in the Slam Dunk Contest that year.
For the Celtics, the season was one of change off the court as well as on--McCallum discusses the retirement of radio announcer Johnny Most and the advent of halftime promotions at Boston Garden.
The author marches through the regular season month by month, noting that the changes made to the team worked spectacularly early on--the Celtics jumped out to a 29-5 start and were seen as possible championship contenders. At the time, I was living in North Texas and got to see Bird, McHale, and Parish play in person when the Celtics came to Dallas in December 1990. Despite the team's great start, though, injuries set in late in the season and the team finished with a 56-26 record.Read more ›
McCallum provides a full range of background into the minutia of modern day sports and the NBA circa 1991. By chronicling a storied NBA franchise, with 3 of the all-time players still revelant, you can see exactly how athletes live in their own special world and how personalities can alter events.
I read this back in the day. Basketball books have been a whole lot of miss and very little hit over the years. This wasn't a hugely successful commercial project because the Celtics weren't winning big by the time Jack wrote this. That's the only reason it wasn't a hit. Otherwise, it's a fun read. Every bit as perceptive about the early 90s as 007 is about fun and gun in the Suns. And the characters are larger. Those old Celtics will light up the horizon in basketball lit for years to come. Bird, McHale, Chief, and the rest fighting against the dying of the light. Sweet words about a sweet team and a sweet game.