NBA Finals: 30 Year Anniversary of 1987 series


Before the NBA Finals of 2017, let’s take a look back at a thirty year anniversary.

It was a Sunday afternoon Game 6 it was going to be a barbecue clincher.  The Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics were playing their third NBA Finals in the decade.

It was the rubber match the Celtics had won before. Los Angeles exacted revenge, winning in 1985 in six games. It marked the first time the Lakers had defeated the Celtics in a NBA Finals.

This was another series in the personal rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.  Their play and leadership had elevated their teams to the elite of the NBA.

Their legacies would depend on who could come out on top in this series.

In 1987, the Lakers had the best record in basketball. With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar manning the middle and James Worthy on the wing, the Lakers had home court advantage against the Celtics for the first time in the decade.

The most memorable game of the series was Game 4. The game in Boston came down to a memorable ‘junior sky hook” shot that Magic made over Celtics big men Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.

The shot gave the Lakers a 3-1 lead in the series.  After the Celtics won game 5, the Lakers now had two games at home with a chance to clinch the series.

I don’t know what Game 6 was like in the rest of Southern California, but at my  house it was going to be a barbecue.  My father had it all set we would eat at tip-off time.

It wasn’t just another lunch, though, He was so confident the series was over, he was calling it a celebration barbecue.

The VCR was set to record (look it up kids). Lunch was ready, we waited in anticipation for the clash of the titans to began.

As soon as the game tipped off…snow.  The cable had gone out, the only thing on the TV was snow.

Also, with no cable company help coming on a Sunday, we were forced to watch the game on a black and white 12 inch TV in the kitchen.

Eventually, the Lakers clinched the game, series.

Magic Johnson would add a third Finals MVP (to go with his 1987 regular season MVP). Kareem at 40 would score a team high 32 points.

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Just like clock work as soon as the final buzzer sounded the cable kicked back on just in time to watch the champagne celebration live and in living color.