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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

1980-81 Topps Basketball Boston Celtics Team Set

Here's how good Larry Bird is: In 78-79 while Bird was finishing up his college career at Indiana State, the Celtics went 29-53 and finished in last place in the Atlantic Division. The next year they won 32 more games and went to the conference finals with pretty much the same team plus Bird. The year this set came out, Larry and the Celtics won it all. Here are the team leaders:

#30 Larry Bird Scoring Leader
#31 Larry Bird Rebound Leader
#32 Nate Archibald Assist Leader

Larry Legend lead the team in points and rebounds and came in second to Tiny in assists his rookie season. Here's the all time leaders:

Havlicek, Russell and Cousy. Three all-time greats who still are the franchise leaders in those categories. Larry Bird is also all over those lists now.

#33 Nate Archibald

Tiny is in the Hall of fame and is one of the greatest point guards in the history of the game. He amazingly led the lead in both scoring and assists in the 72-73 season.

#34 Larry Bird

In the epic playoff series against the Hawks in 1988, while I was watching the games I would mentally add two points to the Celtics' score. I knew that if Larry decided he wanted a basket he would get a basket at any time. I was right.

#35 M.L. Carr

M.L. went on to be coach and GM of the Celtics, but he's best known for the steal and dunk that clinched game 4 of the 1984 NBA Finals against the Lakers.

#36 Dave Cowens

Ho hum, another Hall of Fame Celtic legend. Cowens once led the Celtics in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals all in the same season.

#37 Chris Ford

Chris played 10 years in the NBA and coached 10 years in the NBA. He's also credited with the first three-pointer in NBA history.

#38 Pete Maravich

Pistol Pete was so far ahead of his time it's not even funny. If he was born a decade or two later, he'd be one of the biggest stars in any sport.

#39 Cedric Maxwell

Cornbread was clutch, winning the 80-81 NBA Finals MVP. By the way, he hated the name Cornbread, but I can't call him anything else.

#40 Rick Robey

A big lunky white center picked third overall in the 1978 draft. Why do teams do that to themselves? His playing time dropped in 80-81 due to...

#97 Robert Parish

The fifth Hall of famer in the team set. Chief is kind of like Bill Russell lite. What the heck was Golden State thinking by trading him? By the way, note the photo in the card... You might see it later.

#254 Rick Robey Slam Dunk

No all stars in this set for the Celts, but there is a card of their center dunking. I wonder when the exact moment was when just dunking stopped being special and a player needed a high flying gymnastic dunk to get their own card.


Cardboard Addiction said...

Is that Pete Maravich in a Kevin McHale costume?

Billy Suter said...

The saddest form of irony can be found in this quote from Pistol Pete:

"I don't want to play 10 years in the NBA and then die of a heart attack at 40."

Mad Guru said...

As a grad of mighty Guilford College, M.L. Carr is best remembered by me as part of the great Guilford hoops team that won the 1973 NAIA National Championship (largely due to his teammate World B. Free's performance in the tourney).

MMayes said...

It is often forgotten that the Celtics drafted Bird following the 1978 season with their top draft choice. At that time you had a year to sign your draft picks. Bird didn't sign, went back to Indiana State to play another year with Carl Nicks and then signed before the 1979 draft. The Celtics thought enough of him to let him stay in college a year.

I was not a big Bird fan, but he could sure play ball. Imagine, however, if Pistol Pete hadn't drunk away part of his prime and you had Bird, Pistol and Tiny on the floor at the same time.....