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Unfinished Business: On and Off the Court With the 1990-91 Boston Celtics Hardcover – January, 1992

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • 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: #157,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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By Eric Mayforth on October 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The "Big Three" trio of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish produced one of the most unforgettable dynasties in NBA history, under the watchful eye of Red Auerbach.

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.
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I hated the Celtics growing up, hated Bird, hated Mchale, hated all of them. I loved watching the high flyers play like Ron Harper and Dominique Wilkins, Jordan and Drexler. The Celtics were boooooring!! As I got older I came to rspect and appreciate Bird and Mchale for how they played. When I saw this book I was intrigued to hear some behind the scenes stories. Honestly, if you loved Bird as a kid you probably wont after you read this because the book pretty much tells the story of a great player who was ornery as hell, played dirty and never showed the fans much gratitude. For me though, I never liked him so the stories in this book didnt not change my feelings for him, but what it did do was make me respect his game and what he meant to the NBA. So even if you hated the Celtics growing up or hate them now, but you love basketball of the 80's and 90's you should not miss this one.
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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. Author did a nice job on the players' personalities. You may find it a bit dull if you're not a big Celtics fan like me.
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