Wouldn’t it be nice if you could take the best players in Celtics and Lakers history — in their primes — and square them off in a playoff series.
A seven-game playoff series with the greatest players from the two greatest teams in NBA history. Give the Celtics the home court advantage, since they have won 17 NBA championships to 16 by the Lakers. So the inevitable seventh game would come down to a showdown in the old Boston Garden.
What match ups, some seen before, some never seen. The best of the best in the 64-year history of the NBA. Here are the teams.
C — Bill Russell
F — Larry Bird
F — Kevin McHale
G — Bob Cousy
G — Sam Jones
Coming of the Boston bench as sixth man would be John Havlicek, shown below against Jerry West. Tom “Satch” Sanders is the lockdown defensive specialist.
The other reserves, in no particular order, would be Dave Cowens, Tommy Heinsohn, and Bill Sharman from the 50s, 60s and 70s, and two current members of the team, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Last cuts — KC Jones, Dennis Johnson, Robert Parrish
C — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
F — Elgin Baylor
F — James Worthy
G — Jerry West
G — Magic Johnson
The top reserves are Kobe Bryant and Michael Cooper, a superior defensive player. Kobe may be the greatest Laker of them all, but with a backcourt of West and Magic, he brings more fire coming off the bench.
The bench is somewhat lopsided with Gail Goodrich and Pao Gasol bracketing three centers — George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquelle O’Neill. (Yeah, you gonna be the one to tell one of these guys they’re not good enough).
Last cuts — Slater Martin, Kurt Rambis, Bryron Scott.
Red vs. Phil
The coaches, Red Auerbach of Boston and Phil Jackson of Los Angeles, of course. Between them they’ve coached 20 NBA champions.
Imagine having Kobe Bryant and John Havlicek as sixth men.
Russell faced off against Wilt many times, but what fan wouldn’t want to see Russ against Kareem, or Shaq, or even Mikan.
So who would win? Game winds down to the final seconds tied, the old Boston Garden utterly electric. Who’s taking the lost shot? Is it going into overtime?