- Hardcover: 257 pages
- Publisher: Summit Books (January 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671733745
- ISBN-13: 978-0671733742
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Unfinished Business: On and Off the Court With the 1990-91 Boston Celtics Hardcover – January, 1992
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
The author, Jack McCallum, chronicles a Bird's-eye view of the end of this great run of the Boston Celtics. At times interesting and hilarious, McCallum both tells the stories of these colorful personalities and probes the psyches of the 1991-92 Celtics.
The big three uses up most of the ink, but there are also the stories of rookies Dee Brown and Brian Shaw, and many of the reserves, as well. The Celtics go through the majority of the season looking like contenders for the Championship, but ultimately must rely on the aging Big Three to push them over the top. Unfortunately, their bodies don't cooperate.
And yet, one can see the nuances of the personalities of these NBA superstars and appreciate Bird and McHale's leadership, and very different humor. Bird can be side splitting, such as when he is lying on his stomach on the sidelines to take pressure off his back, and reaches over to untie Chuck Person's shoelaces during an inbounds, or when he slides Johnny Most's cigarettes over to the scorer's table and out of reach as he is checking into the game, leaving the close to dementia Most screaming into the microphone for his smokes.
McHale is equally humorous, but with a more down to Earth, thoughtful brand of hilarity.
Really, almost another epoch of NBA basketball, and a time gone by, but really a fun, interesting read.
author of The Show
How do I get that, you may wonder? Well, here's what I think: McCallum is a solid writer, and never fails to keep the reader interested -- but ultimately, he's not great, and his work is nothing spectacular. What this book is MOST CERTAINLY NOT is an updated version of Halberstam's "Breaks of the Game," a landmark work in NBA and sports nonfiction that truly captured the complete essence of the Association at a given point in time -- something that McCallum alludes to attempting in the introduction. McCallum's writing, unlike Halberstam's, does not elevate the material into something more poignant than writing about sports; rather, what McCallum does well is portray characters, and it is the outstanding characters he documents who carry his work and make it memorable.
Of course, the character who defines "Unfinished Business" is Kevin McHale, the Celtics' power forward. Ever-present and almost always quick with a quip, McHale was the most quotable and reliable Celtic through the entire narrative. And yet, as McHale would be the first to notice and tell you, the entire book is overshadowed by the presence of basketball legend Larry Bird -- but somehow, in the midst of spending an entire season with the Celtics, McCallum comes away with an infirm sense of who Bird is. We see Bird, but we do not know him, not like we know McHale or Dee Brown or the coaching staff. Much of this is due to Bird's reticence and love of privacy, but all the same: for a year with the Celtics, there needs to be more of Larry Bird.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good insights into one of the less memorable Celtics' seasons. Since this was 25 seasons ago, I had forgot how good the team was in the first half. Read morePublished 7 months ago by M. Levine
Great commentary on an aging team transitioning to a young core of players. It showed the struggle of a team with current times in a league as dynamic as the NBA. Read morePublished 11 months ago by alwin san jose
Very thoroughly view of a not so much covered year and the last years of the great great Larry legend.Published 16 months ago by Chris
One of the few definitive accounts of the great "Big Three"-era Celtics teams of the '80s and early '90s. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Some Guy
Somewhat uneventful. I only bought because of lack of books on the great. larry birdPublished 23 months ago by james dwaileebe
A good, solid follow-A-team-through-a-season sports book. Good writing and content.Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
I've previously read 07 Seconds or Less and like that book, author Jack Mc Callum hits this one right out of the park. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Michael R Naval
McCallum takes the reader straight to the locker room and to the bench of the 90/91 Celtics.
And what a team this is. A team with legacy, yet trying to find its personality. Read more
I loved McCallum's dream team book. One of my favorite sports books of all time. This one was ok. I thought the Johnny Most part of the book was especially harsh. Read morePublished on May 7, 2014 by Steve Chisholm